• Energy Sector

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    One of the world's biggest offshore wind farms gears up for full operations




    Turbine commissioning at one of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms is complete and full operations are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2022, according to German power firm RWE.


    The 857 megawatt Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm is situated in waters off England’s east coast and uses 90 wind turbines from Danish firm Vestas.


    In a statement Thursday RWE said Triton Knoll would produce “sufficient electricity to meet the needs of around 800,000 homes each year.” Investment in the project amounts to approximately £2 billion (around $2.74 billion). RWE has a 59% stake in Triton Knoll. Its other owners are Kansai Electric Power and J-Power, who have stakes of 16% and 25%, respectively. RWE is responsible for the project’s construction, operation and maintenance.


    Triton Knoll produced its first power in March 2021 and its final turbine was installed last September.

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    What Are Solar Trees, and Could They Replace Solar Panels?




    A solar tree is a device resembling a tree in shape, but with photovoltaic (PV) panels in place of its crown.


    The “leaves” of the tree capture solar energy and convert it to electricity, with branches funneling that electricity down through a trunk and into a central battery within. In essence, they provide the same benefits as solar panels, but they use only a fraction of the surface area necessary for an array of solar panels.


    Solar trees are not a new invention, but they’re enjoying a rising popularity. Most of our readers may recognize the most iconic solar trees in Singapore’s stunning Gardens By the Bay, as seen in productions like Crazy Rich Asians and The Bachelor.


    As they exist today, more solar trees raise public awareness around sustainability than are used to generate residential or commercial power. What’s more, the trees are still perceived as “futuristic,” but it might be time we start shifting our mindset about these inventions by incorporating them into our vision of what sustainability looks like in practice. 

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    SK Innovation announced that it would invest US$30 million in Solid Power in order to develop all-solid-state batteries together.


    According to their agreement, their first development target is an all-solid-state battery in which NCM cathode and silicon anode materials are applied to a lithium-ion battery. 


    They are aiming to reach an energy density of at least 930 Wh/L by developing it.

    The target can be regarded as a 33 percent improvement given that an ordinary lithium-ion battery has an energy density of 700 Wh/L or so. In other words, with the development, a fully charged electric vehicle can cover a distance of 930 km instead of 700 km.


    The two companies are planning to save time and cost by utilizing their existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. Solid Power is currently producing prototypes and solid electrolytes at its HQ in Louisville, Colorado. It is planning to build additional solid electrolyte production facilities in Thornton.

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    QuantumScape focusing on disrupting EV industry with solid-state battery


    The Manufacturer


    California-based battery company, QuantumScape, continues to focus on disrupting the electric vehicle battery industry, which has relied on lithium ion batteries, by building a better, smaller, cheaper and safer solid-state battery.


    “Our goal is to make better batteries for EVs and close the [cost and performance] gap with internal combustion engines,” co-founder and CTO Tim Holme said. “We believe our technology is capable of breaking into the mass market.”


    The aim is to commercialize the solid-state battery in 2024 or 2025, to be ready for a predicted surge in the number of EVs on the road worldwide in the 2030s.


    McKinsey predicts a robust increase in demand for EVs in the next decade, from about 1% of annual global sales in 2016 to almost 20% of annual global sales by 2030. EV sales globally rose 65% from 2017 to 2018, and then grew just 9% in 2019, according to McKinsey. Then, after a pandemic-related slowdown in Q1 of 2020, U.S. EV sales have accelerated in 2021 with sales up 201% in Q2 of 2021 compared to 49.5% for all new vehicle sales, according to Kelley Blue Book.

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    Technology to ship hydrogen ready by 2025, Hyundai Heavy unit says




    Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) expects to have the technology to transport hydrogen by ship by 2025, an executive said, targeting a breakthrough in supplying a fuel touted by supporters as offering a major source of clean energy.


    The development by KSOE (009540.KS), the shipbuilding arm of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group (267250.KS), one of the world's biggest shipbuilders, comes amid growing global interest in rolling out hydrogen as a cleaner fuel alternative. Vessel makers worldwide are looking at ways to transport the gas, currently supplied via pipelines and trucks.


    A major challenge is to keep the hydrogen chilled at minus 253 degrees Celsius - only 20 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature - so it stays in liquid form, while avoiding the risk that parts of a vessel could crack.


    "We already have developed a concept ship with a capacity of 20,000 cubic metres," said Yoo Byeong-yong, vice president with Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering's (KSOE) Energy System Research Institute.


    Industry regulators say first net-zero ships must enter the global fleet by 2030, and ships powered by green hydrogen could help meet the target.

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    New clean energy is reducing US electricity generation from natural gas, coal




    The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast in its January Short-Term Energy Outlook that rising electricity generation from clean energy such as solar and wind will reduce generation from fossil fuel-fired power plants over the next two years.


    The EIA is forecasting the share of generation for US clean energy, excluding hydropower, to grow from 13% in 2021 to 17% in 2023.


    The amount of solar power generating capacity operated by the US electric power sector at the end of 2021 is 20 times more than it was at the end of 2011, and US wind power capacity is more than twice what it was 10 years ago.


    Inversely, the EIA forecasts that the share of generation from natural gas will fall from 37% in 2021 to 34% by 2023. Meanwhile, the share of generation from coal rose for the first time since 2014 to average 23% last year, but the coal share will decline from 23% to 22% by 2023, and continue to decline.


    Solar capacity is forecasted to grow by about 21 GW in 2022 and by 25 GW in 2023. We expect that 7 GW of wind generating capacity will be added in 2022 and another 4 GW in 2023. Operating wind capacity totaled 135 GW at the end of 2021.