Category Archives: Energy

#Forbes: The Rise Of #CarbonTech – #CO2 Finds Market Value


Exciting things are happening in the world of carbon capture. A new category of companies are coming to market that are using technological innovation to turn excess CO2 into useful, marketable products. They are calling themselves “CarbonTech” or “Carbon to Value” and proposing that carbon waste can be turned into products of real value.

According to the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humanity will need to reduce its global carbon budget significantly in the next 10 to 14 years to avoid the existential threat of severe and catastrophic climate change. Carbon buildup in the atmosphere over the past hundred years is already causing tangible impacts such as the recent flooding in Mozambique, the California fires and the severe storms which have afflicted major portions of the US.

There are fundamentally three ways to reduce the carbon budget to meet the IPCC goals.

One pathway to reducing the carbon budget, already in practice worldwide, is to lower the demand for fossil fuels in the energy, transportation and agricultural sectors while simultaneously bringing electricity, food and good transportation to the developing world. This requires changes to many entrenched systems, which move slowly—policy, business/industry and agriculture are all sectors that need modifications to business-as-usual. All will require technological and business model innovation. Thanks to real progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy cost reductions, these changes are happening, albeit slowly.

A less viable, but often mentioned pathway would be geological engineering of the atmosphere on an enormous and unprecedented scale. This would involve dumping particulate matter or water vapor into the stratosphere to reflect the sun’s rays back upward, likely causing unforeseen, unintended consequences.

A third, and very promising, pathway would be to focus on increasing the rate of removal of man-made CO2. The issue is of such importance that former Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, launched a study called “Clearing the Air” at Climate Week in NYC.

Trees, soil and oceans do soak up CO2, but do so at a rate that, while sufficient for naturally occurring CO2, cannot keep up with humanity’s insatiable appetite for creating CO2. For the past 150 years, the excess has been dumped into the atmosphere as waste and remains there for up to 200 years.

The first pathway, energy efficiency and resource conservation, works slowly. The second, geoengineering, poses risks not worth pursuing. The third, CO2 capture and utilization, offers the opportunity to manufacture high value products out of CO2 waste, creating a market value for carbon, which policy makers have been largely unable to do. It is possible to create opportunity out of past errors.

In the past, efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere focused on storing carbon in underground caverns at enormous expense. Without a reliable carbon pricing mechanism, this became a money sink as much as a carbon sink. Recently, next-generation carbon removal processes are beginning to see the light of day, and creeping out from the caverns. Simply put, the intention of the prize is to reward technologies that capture excess CO2 to make high-value products that command a market price. Loosely framed, the technologies form three categories—those that create materials for the cement and concrete aggregate industries, those that create fuels, plastics and chemicals and those that create durable carbon products such as carbon fiber, carbon black and carbon nanotubes. In addition to the companies vying for the prize, there are now companies with similar technologies appearing at both the academic and commercialization level.

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#BBC News: Electric car future may depend on deep sea mining


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The concept has been talked about for decades, but until now it’s been thought too difficult to operate in the high-pressure, pitch-black conditions as much as 5km deep.

Now the technology is advancing to the point where dozens of government and private ventures are weighing up the potential for mines on the ocean floor.

The rocks of the seabed are far richer in valuable metals than those on land and there’s a growing clamour to get at them.Billions of potato-sized rocks known as “nodules” litter the abyssal plains of the Pacific and other oceans and many are brimming with cobalt, suddenly highly sought after as the boom in the production of batteries gathers pace.

At the moment, most of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo where for years there’ve been allegations of child labour, environmental damage and widespread corruption.

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Legal Protocols, Lack of Funding Stall Geothermal Development in Indonesia

#Jakarta. Despite #Indonesia already having several plants and government plans to develop the #Geothermal industry, progress has been stalled by legal protocols and a lack of funding, the #WorldBank says.

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3 New Technologies Shaping General Electric Company’s Future

GE-HA Turbine

Three new technologies
The three technologies in question are industrial gas turbines, aircraft engines, and locomotives, and investors hope orders expand as planned. A  brief look at them:

  • CFM International’s (a joint venture between General Electric and France’s Snecma) LEAP aircraft engine is rapidly expanding sales on the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX.
  • The new HA gas turbine already has 16 units in backlog and could expand orders as the first turbines are delivered and put into service this year.
  • GE’s Evolution Series Tier 4 Locomotive is the first to meet federal Tier 4 regulations (a tighter set of emissions standards) as already in production in 2015.

Management recently estimated that LEAP would generate $200 billion in sales over its lifetime, while the HA turbine is forecast to bring in $100 billion and the Tier 4 locomotive about $40 billion. To put these figures into context, the total company backlog stood at $263 billion at the end of the first quarter. 3

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US Gov’t offers $20 million to projects aimed at recovering rare earths from coal

US Gov’t offers $20 million to projects aimed at recovering rare earths from coalThe US Department of Energy (DOE) has set aside about $20 million to fund projects aimed to quickly develop bench scale and pilot scale plans for recovering Rare Earth Elements (REE) from coal and coal by-products.

Last year, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) begun investigating the economic feasibility of recovering the coveted elements — used as ingredients in magnets, batteries, catalytic converters and high-tech products—from coal.

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Canada picks engineering group to operate nuclear labs


Ottawa says it has completed a multi-year restructuring of Canada’s nuclear operations with the selection of a preferred bidder to operate a nuclear laboratory in eastern Ontario that is one of the world’s largest producers of medical isotopes.

Canadian National Energy Alliance was chosen Friday over three other engineering groups to manage and operate Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

The consortium includes SNC-Lavalin, CH2M HILL Canada Ltd., Fluor Government Group Canada Inc., Energy Solutions Canada Group Ltd. and Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear Canada Ltd.

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Obama To Launch $4 Billion Clean Energy Initiative

A coalition of companies are working to increase private and public investments, with Goldman Sachs committing $500 million and the Sierra Club promising $4 million for climate control solutions.

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LG’s IT Company Takes Step into the American Energy Storage Market

LNG Energy Storage

LG CNS plans to expand its business in America, demonstrating the strength to integrate energy storage system (ESS).

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BHP Billiton gets tough as prices stay low

Commodity prices are depressed, but cut-throat manoeuvres may keep the mining firm competitive

Mining juggernaut BHP Billiton is determined to put a brave face on a situation in which commodity prices could stay low for a prolonged period. The £73 billion business is adapting to lower metal and energy prices by streamlining operations, rethinking growth projects and driving through cost efficiencies.

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Sumitomo Metal to boost lithium production for Tesla vehicles

Nickel-Lithium Battery

TOKYO — Sumitomo Metal Mining will expand production of lithium nickel oxide used in batteries for Tesla’s electric vehicles as part of its plan to strengthen a materials operation that it increasingly sees as a stable source of profit.

The company aims to boost pretax profit of its materials operation — the division dealing with raw materials for electric car batteries — to nearly 20 billion yen ($160 million) for fiscal 2018, up 54% from the current fiscal year. It plans to increase output capacity of lithium nickel oxide to 1,850 tons a month by the end of 2015, more than double the current level.

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