This week in Ukrenergo review you will read about China’s ambitious plans for global supply of renewable energy, smart parking for e-vehicles and the new high-performance battery recycling technology from Finland.
And also about new trends in the EU legislation on RES development, as well as on a joint initiative by Google, General Motors and other American corporations on the development of clean energy trading.
1.Finland’s Fortum has learned to return 80% of its old batteries to production
The Finnish energy company Fortum, specializing in green energy, claims to have discovered technology that can recover more than 80% of materials contained in lithium-ion batteries for reuse, reducing the need to mine cobalt, nickel and other scarce metals. This will allow to return scarce metals back into circulation and reduce carbon emissions from the production of batteries for electric cars by 90%. The technology was developed by the Finnish company Crisolteq and is used at a factory in Harjavalta, Finland, as reported by EnergyLiveNews.
Technology will gain momentum in proportion to the increase in the number of EV, because the recycling of batteries is the greatest sustainability issue associated with EVs.
The newly-developed process sees mechanical stripping of the battery off of plastics, aluminium and copper. Chemical and mineral components are the mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel in various ratios. Of these, nickel and cobalt are the most valuable and difficult to mine.
Kalle Saarimaa, Vice President of Fortum Recycling and Waste, said: “Limited availability and the environmental impacts of mining mean that recycling these scarce elements back to battery manufacturing is key to reducing the environmental impacts of battery use throughout the lifecycle.”
2.China intends to link the continents with UHV transmission lines
China’s aims to create a Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) that can capable of integrating available RES resources and making electricity available in Earth’s most remote areas. This trade and economic initiative was called “One Belt, One Road,” reports Energy Post.
This initiative was launched by China’s President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly in 2015. China empowered its largest electric utility company, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), to implement this ambitious plan through the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), set up by SGCC.
GEIDCO is looking into employing supercritical UHV (ultra-high voltage) lines to promote the worldwide interconnection of power grids by 2050. Through this technology, as well as by boosting renewable energy usage and storage technologies, China is proposing to cooperate towards a decarbonised world economy. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has 57 member states in Europe and Asia will be in charge of the relevant projects. GEIDCO has proposed the following Road Map for the Global Energy Interconnection:
- By 2020 – to By 2020 – to identify the prospective directions for the creation or modernisation of high-voltage lines and regions for the deployment of new RES facilities, beginning with the Arctic and equatorial regions.
- By 2030 – begin the production of 1000 billion KW per year renewable electricity in the remote areas and design and promote continental UHV connections in order to provide at least 50% of electricity from renewables.
- By 2050 – raise the share of green generation to at least 90% and complete continental and intercontinental UHV connections.
China’s ambitious plans mirror Desertec – the project set up in the Sahara Desert by twelve large European industrial groups. The plan eventually fell through because of the political and military unrest in northern Africa, and after the economic crisis caused a massive drop in energy consumption. However, today China’s plans may revive DESERTEC, and promote the introduction of large RES facilities in other less inhabited areas of the Earth.
3.In the UK, “smart” car parks for EVs in trial
A consortium of innovative companies has delivered The Smart Hubs Demonstrator R&D project – smart car park for electric vehicles (EVs), allowing EVs to charge or sell electricity to the grid. These smart hubs could help increase the ability to charge large amounts of EVs without placing further pressure on the grid, according to EnergyLiveNews.
The consortium delivering the project consists of Flexitricity, Flexisolar, Smart Power Systems and Turbo Power Systems. Smart hub concept aims to integrate solar, EV charging and vehicle to grid (V2G) systems at car parks and transport hubs.
Smart hubs that incorporate energy storage systems are expected to increase the ability to charge large amounts of EVs without placing further pressure on the grid as well as bring revenue streams for car park owners, including airports, train operators, local authorities, hospitals and retail centres.
Dr Alistair Martin, Chief Strategy Officer at Flexitricity said that electric cars and buses are going to be the principal method of transport in just a few years; however, the current grid system will only be able to cope if smart charging and grid management are adopted across the network. He also added that having the ability to recharge in a short time using a grid-friendly infrastructure will have a huge impact on the electric vehicles market.
4.European Parliament approves a legislative package that increases the opportunities for cross-border trade and RES development
The European Parliament has approved the final four pieces of legislation to improve the EU electricity market With that, the Clean Energy for All Package is now complete and is only waiting for support from the Council of Ministers, PV-magazine reports.
The European Parliament has adopted three new regulations and a new directive for a revised internal electricity market in the EU. They include the new Electricity Market Regulation and Electricity Market Directive, as well as proposals for the Regulations on Risk Preparedness and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
The new rules were designed to empower energy consumers to play an active role in the energy transition. The new market rules envision the free trade of energy, with more cross-border trade possibilities and a higher share of variable renewable energy. Additionally, the new energy market will place a bigger focus on digitalization.
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said that today’s approval of the new electricity market design will make energy markets more flexible and facilitate the integration of a greater share of renewable energy. He added that an integrated EU energy market is the most cost-effective way to ensure secure and affordable supplies to all EU citizens.
Overall, the legislative package included a range of directives and regulations that were designed to improve energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in Europe. Substantial parts of the package have already passed the legislative stage.
5.Google, GeneralMotors and other corporate giants form alliance to create a boom in US clean energy
Corporations and nonprofits are creating a new Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance to make it easier for companies to buy clean energy. The platform will allow companies to purchase electricity by striking renewable energy deals pioneered by companies such as Google parent Alphabet, General Motors and Walmart in recent years. This is according to CNBC.
Over the last six years, a handful of corporate giants have created a new way of meeting their sustainable energy goals. By striking deals to buy blocks of energy from utilities and power plant owners, they are underwriting the construction of new wind towers, solar farms and other renewable projects.
In this way these pioneers aim to empower tens of thousands of companies to buy renewable energy in the coming years. “This is really about bringing as many players to the market as possible and giving everyone access to clean energy,” said Michael Terrell, head of energy market strategy at Google.
The group aims to remove barriers to entry by fine-tuning contracts, tackling regulatory and policy hurdles, piloting new clean technology programs and helping companies establish internal systems to ease the path to buying clean energy. Compared to nearly 16 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity in the U.S. today, REBA aims to accelerate that activity and grow the market to 60 gigawatts by 2025.
At the same time, another corporation, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPS), has created Oriden that will offer RES solutions based on the needs of end-users – including the development and issuance of permits, construction, financing, ownership and asset management. At present, the team plans to focus on solutions for PV systems and storage systems for energy conservation.