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Energy

Xos to trade publicly on Nasdaq via the NextGen Acquisition Corporation merge

If you are keen on the market trends, you have concluded that electric vehicles are currently popular and in high demand. And unlike companies often merge to develop or sell the products. In the recent report, the Xos and NextGen Acquisition Corporation are forming a partnership. The former is a leading commercial electric vehicle equipment manufacturer in the $100 billion medium, while the latter is a heavy-duty retail electric vehicle market.

In a recent announcement, Xos and Nasdaq: NGAC announced their plan to work together. The dual has entered into a definitive business combination agreement whose. The primary role is to make Xos a publicly listed company. Via the Twitter account, the CEO, Dakota Semier, stated his excitement in the new venture. He went ahead to give a short history about how Xos came to be and the mission of Xos. The central role of the company’s creation was to decarbonize the transport industry through the design, innovation, and development of commercial vehicles.

Dakota talked about their association with different fleet operators when it comes o bringing their products to the market. He also stated the challenges that the company has faced since its birth in 2016. For information on the partnership, Dakota expressed how Xos takes this step as a milestone to help the company expand both the vehicle and battery manufacturing capability.

NextGen, George Mattson, talked about the environment and climate changes and how electric vehicles will help create a zero-emission country. He spoke about how the company went through over a hundred potential merger opportunities and power evaluation before settling for electric cars.

The two companies have a Pro-forma market capital that runs up to $2 billion. Xos vehicles have been in the market since 2019, whose customer base includes Loomis, UPS, Wiggins, and Lonestar. These customers order over 6000 units which include both contraction and optional orders. Experts expect Xos to deliver the total cost of ownership through the powertrain systems and purpose-built battery. Also, there is the integrated control vehicle software and OEM powertrain architect that is in the X-platform.

Xos also has a stable multi-year manufacturing partnership with Metalsa, the number one Tier 1 supplier and strategic investor. The main reason for this partnership is to build chassis components and frame rails. All the top officials from the two prominent companies will unite and create a new board of directors. Reliable sources claim that the transaction is likely to take place in the second quarter of the year. The combined companies will be listed on The Nasdaq Stock market with the symbol ”XOS.” This partnership is grand, and many are hoping to see its result. And how the end product will be for the two companies and the customers.

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Space

Chinese Space engineering firm currently testing its production capacity, production to commence in March

According to reports, the Space Engineering Development (SED), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), has begun testing its satellite manufacturing infrastructure. The firm, established in 2018, is based in Wuhan, Hubei province.

The design and construction of the SED plant took approximately 14 months, according to the firm’s general manager, Zou Guangbao. Upon completion, the plant will be producing about 240 small satellites annually. The Chinese administration is on a mission to launch spacecraft to space to keep up with the pace set by other industry pioneers such as Russia, the US, and the EU.

The SED was established to enable the Chinese government to manufacture small communication satellites for the Hongyun project. The project seeks to launch around 150 small communication satellites in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for broadband internet access globally.

The Hongyun program was initiated in 2016, and two years down the line, the first Hongyun satellite was transported to space abode the Long March 11 carrier space vehicle. The successful launch was carried out at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia. The Launch facility is also referred to as the Dongfeng Aerospace City.

The process of building a satellite is a long one and involves component installation, satellite assembly, electronic and mechanical tests, said SED’s project manager, Liu Feng. The ongoing construction will be manually operated, including all these steps. “By comparison, our plants use robots to perform major steps, which means we can improve the average manufacturing efficiency for satellites by more than 40 percent,” said Feng.

The Wuhan-based plant is a research and development center for creating satellites, taking a keen interest in satellites’ structure and thermal control. Apart from satellites, the plant will work on other space products in the future.

The Chinese government regards broadband connectivity highly and has invested a lot in satellite communication. Apart from the state-owned projects, the government also funds private developers to augment the government’s efforts. For instance, it funds Spacety, a satellite communication designer and manufacturer based in Changsha, Hunan Province. Both SED and Spacety are required to produce over 100 satellites each per year.

Satellite communication offers reliable signal strength for telecommunications, broadcasting, and data communication. China has strived to ramp up its satellite communication sector. In January this year, it launched the Tiantong 1-03 mobile telecommunication satellite into the LEO. The payload was carried by a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. China’s satellites will provide reliable connectivity for voice calls, messaging, and data connection across Asia, Middle East, Africa, and other underserved regions.

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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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Space

Space Junk Map indicates the dangerously cluttered orbit

Astronauts have been working in the space exploration industry for many years with multiple attempts in space. However, the current space junk map is not that pleasing to the ear. It shows 26,000 objects that are hanging dangerously into space. These objects have an average size which equals that of a cell phone or a bit larger. These facts are from an aerospace engineer from the University of Texas. He alarms the planet about how dangerous space has become with the many junks cluttered into the Earth’s orbit in his report. There are multiple opinions on the matter.

Naturally, if you visit the coastal areas in many countries, you will notice one thing. The litterbugs, plastic floating in the water, and other garbage. From these sites, you can figure out that humans’ nature is a bit untidy, especially when dealing with public spaces. From the recent images, it is clear that we spread litter everywhere we go, even in space. And like normal humans, no one figures out a way to clean up the mess we create. Moriba Jah, an associate professor from the University of Texas, Austin, leads to talk about the matter.

These conclusions follow after his recent monitoring in the Earth’s orbit. He maps the human litter that is currently orbiting the Earth. He works with a team that uses the Multi-source, crowdsourced database to collect pictures all over the space. These statics ranges from the U.S Department of Defence to private satellites.

The Space Age started in 1957, October 4th, after the first launch of Sputnik 1. What followed have been over 5000 space ships which go into space leaving some of their parts and cargo. Later, astronauts added thousands of satellites. From his data, it is clear that the Earth’s orbit currently holds over 26,000 orbits with a big size that you can track. They range from the least size of a cell phone to that of a space station. In an interview with The Current, Jah spoke about the things in space and that only 3000 instruments are currently in use.

The rest of the things include nuts, bolts, gloves, and other things hanging in space. These things are from spacewalks, decommissioned satellites, rocket-ship parts, and the Tesla under Elon Musk 2018 launch. The European Space Agency also estimates about 166 million human-made objects that are cluttered in space, including things as small as one millimeter.

From the study, most of the garbage is in the low Earth orbit. Also, the garbage is moving at an abnormally high speed. And these facts pose the danger of space collision with other useful things. Jah talked about Susan Helms’s experience in space and its strange noises. Jah hopes that space entrepreneurs should work on ways to clean up space to prevent unimaginable disasters.

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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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Space

Elon Musk blasts Bezos’ Amazon regarding the Starlink satellite internet

In recent times, the two richest men globally, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, are dealing with federal regulators regarding the massive internet programs that their companies are founding. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, via his Twitter account, highlighted this upcoming project. His Company is currently working on persuading the Federal Communications Commission Officials to move some of the Starlink satellites. This move will help lower altitudes. However, this detail was not in the original plan.

One of the popular people who are against this move is Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. His Company is against this move with allegations that this modification will interfere with other satellites. When answering these claims, Elon Musk expressed his thoughts where he explained that Starlink should not be suppressed by the Amazon Satellite system that will take years to bring to the operation.

SpaceX, in general, dismissed these claims because Amazon is trying to suppress competition. Amazon also went ahead to respond to these claims in a public statement to CNBC. An Amazon spokesman claiming to follow the facts explained that their Kuiper System design’s main goal was to avoid Starlink’s interference. However, SpaceX wants to make changes that do not follow the original plan, which may destroy their project.

Amazon’s spokesperson explained that the changes would make the environment more dangerous and likely cause a collision in space. Also, it will likely increase radio interference. The spokesman also accused SpaceX of hamstring competition among the satellite systems. And this move is not in the Public’s interest.

Starlink is one of the main projects that SpaceX is working on in this Space calendar. It is a plan that is working on building an interconnected internet network with over 12,000 satellites. The primary goal of the Starlink project is to deliver high-speed internet all over the planet. Currently, it holds over 1000 satellites in the Earth’s orbit. In October last year, SpaceX began a public beta program. The initial service costs $99 per month and an additional $499 to get a Starlink Kit.

Each Kit includes a Wi-Fi router and user terminal to connect to the satellites. Meanwhile, Amazon is also working on satellite internet, Project Kuiper. This project aims to release 3,236 internet satellites in the Earth’s orbit. Project Kuiper is a system that would compete with Starlink. Unlike SpaceX, Amazon is yet to start launching its satellites into the Earth’s orbit.

In July 2020, the FCC authorized Project Kuiper, where the Company plans on investing over $10 billion. There have been details about SpaceX’s intention to move their satellites to lower orbit in recent weeks. But Amazon opposes this move. The two giant technology companies hold different grounds on the matter, and time will tell the issue’s result.

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Space

Artemis to Include Two Lunar Gateway Instruments for Space Weather Forecasting

Two space weather instrument suites, NASA‘s HERMES and ASA’s ERSA, will be used by the astronauts in the Artemis Moon mission to forecast the weather. In this scenario, the weather is defined as energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields moving through the solar system.

The dual instrument suites that are christened after two of Artemis half-siblings will be pre-loaded on the Gateway before the launch of the initial two modules: The Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost, and the two will be used to monitor the lunar radiation environment and send data back before the arrival of the crew.

Together with European Space Agency (ESA), NASA is constructing each instrument suites to monitor the weather conditions in outer space and send a report back to Earth. The two components are expected to share the work between them, with ERSA checking out the space radiation at advanced energies to protect the astronauts. At the same time, HERMES will be used to monitor lower energies necessary for scientific investigations.

When looking up the night sky, it may look obscure and void, but the Earth moves through an open sea of high energy particles consisting of electrical and magnetic fields. Electrons and ions pass by at high speed, reaching over a million miles per hour, and the random blasts from solar storms push them close to the speed of light. This stream of particles is what is referred to as solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field, which is around 60,000 miles, is the one responsible for our protection, together with the astronauts nearer to home on the International Space Station.

Heliophysics Environmental and Radiation Measurement Experiment Suite (HERMES) will take a look at the activities at the magnetotail, which will give room for NASA to make a comparison between two of the five THEMIS spacecraft, a pair of ships orbiting the moon and have the same type of instruments as HERMES. The opportunity to collect data from these three instrument suites in different locations will give room for reconstructing the solar wind behavior in relation to change over time. HERMES will gauge lower energy radiation meant for astronauts’ safety, but its primary mission will be scientific.

European Radiation Sensors Array (ERSA) will be used to study the effects of the solar winds on astronauts and their equipment. Loaded with five pieces of equipment, ERSA will measure energetic particles emanating from the Sun, galactic cosmic rays, neutrons, ions, and magnetic fields around the Gateway. The measuring of these particles will explain radiation’s physics in the solar system and comprehend the risks they pose to the astronauts and their tools.

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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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All News

PepsiCo Will Use 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 Year

PepsiCo Inc. on Monday announced a target to source 100 percent renewable electricity. The company’s sourced electricity will be utilized to run operations across all the company’s owned and run operations nationwide. This project is expected to be accomplished by 2030 and overall utilization in the company’s franchise and third party by 2040.  In making the decision, the company, this project will be able to decrease nearly 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (CHG) releases by 2040.

 This announcement comes when the company has been putting effort in the increment in its utilization of green energy sources and its changeover to green power in the United States, which is its leading market. According to Jim Andrew, who is the Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo, there is a need for fast action to curb the devastating effects of climate change that are being experienced worldwide.

PepsiCo was able to sign the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees Centigrade early this year, entering the ranks of other prominent establishments in committing to enroll science-based releases decrease target by limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees centigrade. This is projected to be undertaken together to develop a continuing policy for attaining net nil discharges by 2050. PepsiCo has been able to make substantial steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through its entire value chain. This has been achieved by the company teaming up with agronomists to device carbon proficient practices via its international Sustainable Farming Program to running one of the biggest electrical flotillas in North America.

At now, PepsiCo sources for green energy in 18 nations, and nine of these countries have by now met the 100% of their mandate in electricity from renewable sources. With the United States already shifting to renewable electricity this year, PepsiCo is at this time on the path to get 56 percent of its energy via renewable sources universally by late 2020.

With the declaration to switch to 100% renewable electricity, PepsiCo has joined RE100, which is an enterprise headed by the Climate Group in conjunction with CDP. The initiative aims to bring together the most influential companies in the world that are committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity. To attain 100 percent renewable electricity globally, PepsiCo will be needed to use an expanded portfolio of solutions that will include Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The PPAs will be able to offer support in the development of new renewable electricity generating projects.