• Energy Sector

    TESLA

    EV battery makers such as LG Chem and Samsung have mostly favored nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) or nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) batteries over cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry due to their higher energy density, which allows vehicles to travel longer distances. LFP batteries are more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, but they tend to be limited when it comes to range. This status quo seems poised to change with Battery Day, at least if speculations prove accurate.

     

    Reports have emerged stating that CATL, one of Tesla’s battery partners in China, has begun supplying LPF batteries for the electric car maker’s locally-produced Model 3. Elon Musk emphasized this in the Q2 2020 earnings call, when he stated that Tesla will be boosting volume production in China of LFP battery packs for the Model 3. By the end of July, Panasonic, Tesla’s longtime battery partner, informed Reuters that it will be commercializing a cobalt-free battery in two to three years for the electric car maker.

     

    HYDROGEN

    How falling solar costs have renewed clean hydrogen hopes

     

    MIT Technology Review: James Temple

     

    A June study from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory found it may be closer to the middle of the century before hydrogen is the most affordable technology for long duration storage on the grid. But as fluctuating renewables like solar and wind become the dominant source of electricity, utilities will need to store up enough energy to keep the grid reliably working not just for a few hours, but for days and even weeks during certain months when those resources flag.

     

    Hydrogen shines in that scenario compared to other storage technologies, because adding capacity is relatively cheap, says Joshua Eichman, a senior research engineer at the lab and co-author of the study. To increase the length of time that batteries can reliably provide electricity, you need to stack up more and more of them, multiplying the cost of every pricey component within them. With hydrogen, you just need to build a bigger tank, or use a deeper underground cavern, he says.

    EU HYDROGEN STRATEGY

    The boost of the hydrogen sector cannot be achieved without a comprehensive investment strategy which profits from synergies and provides for a coherent system across the different EU funds and EIB financings.


    At the center of the investment agenda is the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which was launched in the Commission’s New Industrial Strategy that was announced along with the Hydrogen Strategy. The Alliance facilitates collaboration between the public sector and authorities, industry and civil society, creating “interlinked, sector-based CEO round tables and a policymakers’ platform”. By the end of 2020, an investment agenda to support the kick-off of hydrogen production and application is to be developed alongside a robust pipeline of projects.

    Further investment guidance will be provided by the renewed sustainable finance strategy, which is expected to be adopted by the end of 2020, as well as the EU sustainable finance taxonomy.

    LOW-CARBON TECH

    After growing by more than 2% in 2019, global gas use is set to fall by around 4% in 2020, as the pandemic reduces energy consumption across the global economies.

     

    However, the resulting low gas prices, as well as clean air and climate policies, will promote further switching to gas from other more polluting energy sources, such as oil and coal. This trend was already underway before the pandemic, thanks to cost-competitive gas in key sectors including power, industry and transport, and major regions including Europe, North America, and Asia.

     

    The Global Gas Report 2020, published today by the International Gas Union (IGU), research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) and Snam, the Italian-headquartered international gas infrastructure company reviews key global gas industry developments over the last year, provides a high-level outlook for future gas market developments, and examines the potential of hydrogen as a clean fuel to help meet climate goals.

    NATURAL GAS

    Warren Buffett’s $9.7 billion bet on natural gas looks even more contrarian today.

     

    As Democrat Joe Biden unveils a staggering $2 trillion clean-energy plan—the most ambitious climate package ever offered by a presumptive presidential nominee—Buffett’s recent deal to buy Dominion Energy Inc.’s natural gas assets is a stark sign he’s expecting that the market’s shift away from fossil fuels won’t happen overnight.

     

    On its face, Berkshire’s deal last week to buy gas assets including some 7,700 miles of pipelines seems risky even for a contrarian like Buffett. The energy industry is under increasing pressure from public officials and investors to abandon coal and natural gas. The use of natural gas for power generation, once hailed as a cleaner, cheaper alternative to coal, is now projected to drop to 36% in 2021 from 41% this year. In the last decade, prices for solar and onshore wind power have plummeted 90% and 70% respectively per megawatt-hour, according to BloombergNEF. Renewables now supply 20% of Americans’ power needs, up from 13% five years ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    LITHIUM-ION BATTERY

    According to the report from Research & Markets.com, the lithium-ion battery market was valued $36.7 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $129.3 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 18% from 2020 to 2027.

     

    The global lithium-ion battery market growth is driven by increase in use of various automobiles such as electric & hybrid vehicles. In addition, the product demand is expected to rise across electrical & electronics industry, owing to surge in penetration of smartphones and laptops.

     

    In the current business scenario, efficiency of batteries is one of the vital features that is required for the improved sale of electronic devices across the globe. Primarily, smartphones, tablets, and laptop/PCs are witnessing higher sales, compared to other electronic gadgets, due to their improved performance coupled with low prices. Battery back-up is considered as one of the important features consumers enquire before buying any tablet, mobile phone, or laptop/PC. As Li-ion batteries provide enhanced battery life, they are majorly preferred in smartphone manufacturing, which, in turn, is expected to enhance the product demand over the coming years.