The US and Ukraine made a significant announcement during COP27. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Ukraine Minister of Energy German Galushchenko announced a Ukraine Clean Fuels from SMRs Pilot project on Saturday that will demonstrate the production of clean hydrogen and ammonia using secure and safe small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) and cutting-edge electrolysis technologies in Ukraine. The idea behind is to develop first-of-a-kind pilot of commercial-scale production of clean fuels from SMRs using solid oxide electrolysis. Building on existing capacity-building cooperation launched under a US program, the project seeks to support Ukraine’s energy security goals, enable decarbonization of hard-to-abate energy sectors through clean hydrogen generation, and improve long-term food security through clean ammonia-produced fertilizers. It’s a very good move economically and geopolitically with much of Ukraine’s economy tied to its agriculture, and much of the pressure coming from Russia has to do with oil and gas.
Kerry also used that opportunity to announce Project Phoenix, which is aimed at accelerating the transition in Europe of coal-fired plants to SMRs while retaining local jobs through workforce retraining. Project Phoenix will provide direct U.S. support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies and related activities in support of energy security goals for countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This could help free up neighboring countries that have been shipping a lot of natural gas over from Russia. The US reiterates that it’s committed to supporting the use of innovative clean energy technologies to power global decarbonization efforts and providing options to achieve net zero transition in hard-to-abate energy sectors.
Speaking of partners in Ukraine: Those of you looking for good online tutoring/teaching services, consider Preply. This Ukraine-based company has been working with thousands of students around the world to improve their skills for testing to get into college and grad school, and other tangible goals. During my time in grad school, I’ve been working with them to gain more teaching and tutoring experience. It’s been very insightful to speak with students around the world on their goals and dreams. —Editor Jon LeSage
Market Intelligence — HFCVs, Pt. 2: Available now is the second part of the report exploring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, hydrogen technology, and hydrogen fueling stations. This edition looks at all the vehicle manufacturers that are now in this space, and what’s coming up next. This has been leaning toward hydrogen-powered trucks and vans, with much of the opportunity coming from commercial vehicles serving ports. The zero emission vehicle mandate is pushing much of it, as is greater confidence in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The fueling infrastructure has a long way to go, along with access to “green hydrogen.” But the opportunities are increasing. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the technology and fuel. Click here for more information.
And in other news:
The latest on Musk and Twitter: So, do you have to pay for the $7.99 per month subscription fee to use Twitter now that Elon Musk owns the company? No, Musk says it’s about verifying accounts as the new owner works to overhaul the platform’s verification system. There are other advantages to joining the club for those interested, but there’s still a lot for Musk and his management team to work out there. Musk has two other challenges coming up soon. Musk go to court later this week to defend his $56 billion pay package from allegations by Tesla shareholders that it was tainted with easy performance targets. Also, a Tesla Model S owner is on trial for manslaughter. It may become a first-of-its-kind legal test of the responsibility of a human driver in a car with advanced driver-assist technology like Tesla’s Autopilot.
COP27: The COP27 climate conference that is taking place through November 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, is the platform for nearly 200 countries to strike a deal to steer the world towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and to scale up finance for countries being ravaged by climate disaster. Delegates from many of the former-colony, developing nations around the world are calling for the major global economies to fund renovation of their infrastructures toward clean energy and efficiency. There might be more movement forward on this pressing issue than in past UN climate change conferences. A few countries have resisted mentioning a global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the official text of the COP27 summit in Egypt, U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said at the conference on Saturday; its too early to tell if this will stop an agreement being reached. Attendees are looking forward to hearing newly elected Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (aka Lula) is heading to the COP27 summit this week, to reassure the world that Amazon rainforest is now in safe hands. Deforestation in Brazil reached a 15-year high under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, as farm owners had been able to push back on protected rainforest acreage under Bolsonaro.
Speaking of deforestation: Elelectric carmaker Tesla will have to do more of around its new Brandenburg Gigafactory to set up its needed production plant. The company will be applying for expansion and is beginning to clear local pine forests. This clearing process will remove pine trees over about 173 acres of currently forested area. The electric carmaker said it has already begun taking the necessary steps for species and forest protective measures. This factory will be important for Tesla to expand its European market presence.
GM’s EV push: General Motors CEO Mary Barra is planning on telling investors this week that GM expects its electric-vehicle program to be profitable in 2025, the same year it’s targeting sales of 1 million battery-powered electric vehicles. GM has plans in the works to roll out a $30,000 Chevy Equinox EV and electric Silverado pickup next year.