🧊 Glacier desert dust | 🔋 World’s first CO2 battery | ⛈️ Waymo’s Weather Stations
🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE
Not only is the global temperature increase now all but certain to eclipse the 1.5°C target threshold, emissions from fossil fuels are set to exceed all previous records before this year is over, peaking at more than a 50% increase since the start of the Industrial Revolution. And while China’s emissions dipped slightly, the US’s have increased.
According to researchers from Ohio State University, the accumulation of dust trapped in glacial ice could provide a record of historical climate data, and thereby provide means of predicting future trends.
A new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has determined that, regardless of greenhouse gas emissions reductions in coming decades, Europe has already been warming more than 2.2°C (4°F) on average over the last 30 years, more than doubling the rest of the planet’s average rate. One working theory to support Europe’s accelerated temperature increase is its proximity to the Arctic which has already increased more than 3°C (5.4°F).
🔋 CLEAN ENERGY
The production of anode and cathode battery materials has long been dominated by Chinese companies. But Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company founded by departed Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, is gearing up for a 100 GWh battery factory to produce high-nickel cathode material for Panasonic’s new factory in Kansas.
An Italian startup, Energy Dome, has produced the world’s first CO2 battery for long term storage of wind and solar energy. It compresses CO2 using energy from solar and wind; when the CO2 is compressed, it produces heat that is stored for later while turning the gas into a dense liquid and then separates them, effectively functioning as a storage battery for the solar and wind energy. To discharge energy, the liquid CO2 is heated back up with the stored heat energy and turned back into a gas which then powers a turbine to produce electricity. Energy Dome received funding and networking support from Hawaii- and SF Bay Area-based Elemental Excelerator.
Maritime sector and green hydrogen leaders agree on ambitious targets & collaboration to reach zero-emissions global shipping by 2050 (long read)
Just announced at COP27 currently underway in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 10 different shipping companies have signed an agreement to rapidly adopt green hydrogen alternatives as early as this decade with the goal of reaching 100% decarbonization by 2050. Specifically, the agreement calls for commercially viable zero-emissions ships by 2030; and the ramping up of green hydrogen production to 5.5 million tons per year by 2030 for shipping uses.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
VW’s updated ADAS will incorporate so-called “swarm data,” essentially crowd-sourced road data from “several hundred thousand” VW Group vehicles. The aggregated data will augment missing road or lane markings to the benefit of the individual cars’ various semi-automated driving functions such as lane keep assist when lane markings are absent. The same information can be used to better assist parking maneuvers.
Waymo is using its own onboard hardware stack — radar, lidar, and cameras — to practically determine the current rain or fog conditions based on the accumulation of moisture on the vehicles’ windows. This enables the vehicles to function as hyperlocal realtime weather stations in an effort to better manage the vehicles’ navigation capabilities — or lack thereof — during imminent inclement weather; or optimally, to navigate around it in places like San Francisco with so-called “microclimates.”
The leading long-range battery chemistry in use across North America is are lithium-ion batteries that utilize nickel and cobalt; in China, however, the world’s largest EV market, a less expensive battery is the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery. While it provides less energy density and thus reduced vehicle range than the nickel-cobalt alternatives, it is less expensive. As such, it’s a fine alternative for EVs that tend to recharge frequently, or larger vehicles that have the space for bigger battery packs. Rivian, for instance, is migrating to LFP packs, for precisely these reasons.