Cal on December 12th, 2017

Cal on December 11th, 2017


ITER, an international project to build a prototype nuclear fusion reactor in southern France, said it is facing delays if the US does not reconsider budget cuts. ITER’s director said the US contribution had been cut from a planned $105 million to $50 million this year and its 2018 budget cut from a planned $120 million to $63 million. Construction of the reactor, being built at Cadarache, is now 50% complete. The reactor is hoping to achieve first plasma in 2025.

Russia’s Gazprom says there are enough contracts in place to start construction on expansions to the twin Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. The company plans to double the capacity for the pipeline system, which runs under the Baltic Sea, and crosses into European territory before it makes landfall in Germany.

2017 will most likely witness a continuation in the decline of conventional crude oil discoveries. This year has seen no major onshore discovery; significant finds  have been confined to offshore areas of the Americas, where Mexico’s continental shelf unearthed two highly promising formations.

Natural gas production in the northeastern US grew from 7.8 billion cubic feet per day in 2012 to 23.8 Bcf/d this year. This 200% increase has had significant implications including the displacement of coal-fired electric power generation.

Five new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are currently under construction in the US and they are expected to increase total LNG export capacity to 9.6 billion cubic feet per day by 2019. Only two years ago export capacity was 2.8 Bcf/d.

French container shipping company CMA CGM said liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the maritime fuel of the future, replacing diesel.

Chinese state-owned company CNOOC, the country’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has leased two tankers to store emergency LNG supplies offshore, as the massive coal-to-natural gas switch leads to an unprecedented soaring gas demand and concerns of fuel shortages this winter.

China’s Three Gorges Group started producing power from a 150-megawatt floating solar plant in east China, the largest of its kind in the world. The plant is expected to be in full operation in May next year. Floating on a manmade lake in China’s Anhui province near the city of Huainan, the facility has the capacity to provide electric power to 15,000 homes. (See photo above.)

China just launched its first all-electric cargo ship, which will travel 50 miles at a top speed of 8 miles per hour on a single charge. It will take two hours to recharge, which is about as much time the vessel needs to unload at a destination. So far, two ports have been fitted with charging stations specifically for the ship.

Ford Motor Company said it plans to introduce 15 battery-powered electric or plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid car models in China by 2025.




with h/t Tom Whipple

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Cal on December 11th, 2017

In just a few months from now, at bitcoin’s current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what’s available, requiring new energy-generating plants. And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies. By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses. By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

This is an unsustainable trajectory. It simply can’t continue.


—-  Eric Holthaus, Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future, Grist, December 5, 2017

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Cal on December 11th, 2017

Cal on December 9th, 2017


Cal on December 9th, 2017

Cal on December 8th, 2017

A new solar energy project in the US state of California will be using the Sun to help extract crude oil. What will be the state’s largest solar plant, located near Bakersfield, Belridge Solar will generate steam to inject into the ground to help extract the oil. Solar power will create 850 megawatts (MW) of thermal energy to produce 12 million barrels of steam per year. Meanwhile a solar electric plant will produce 26.5 MW of electricity. The project expects to begin operation in 2020.

Toyota is building the worlds first megawatt-scale 100% renewable power and hydrogen generation station. The Tri-Gen facility at the Port of Long Beach, California will use bio-waste sourced from agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen. When it comes online in 2020, the plant will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day. It will also supply hydrogen to all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port.

Delphi Automotive is aiming to lower the cost of self-driving cars by more than 90% to around $5,000 by 2025. While current estimates for the cost of a self-driving hardware and software package range from $70,000 to $150,000, CEO Kevin Clark said “the cost will come down to about $5,000 by 2025 because of technology developments and economies of scale.” The largest cost reductions will come when automakers re-engineer their basic vehicle platforms specifically to accommodate electric motors, batteries and self-driving sensors. Future vehicle platforms that will have fewer components, but much more software, better communications capability and advanced safety systems. Clark also noted that self-driving vehicles will grow first in the commercial market, where there’s economic incentive” and where fleet operators “are in a better position to absorb higher costs” than traditional automakers.

General Motors says it plans a commercial launch of fleets of fully autonomous robo-taxis in multiple dense urban environments in the US in 2019. The ride service will compete with Uber, Waymo and similar ride-sharing services. GM noted that autonomous ride sharing vehicles could be quite profitable because the vehicle could be continuously used by multiple users over its lifespan.

Honda claims it will have electric car charging time down to 22 minutes by 2022. The Japanese automaker says it will launch a number of EVs that year capable of adding about 150 miles of range in 15 minutes. To do this ,it will offer new batteries capable of taking advantage of ultra-fast chargers that we’ll begin to see open up between now and when these new cars become available. Japan expects to have 350-kilowatt chargers in 2020, up from the 150 kW that Japan’s fastest chargers currently offer.

Among other companies claiming breakthroughs in charging is Fisker, which says its EV will be able to add 125 miles of range in just 9 minutes of charging. Daimler claims it can provide a full charge, worth 300 miles of range, in just five minutes. Tesla is planning “Megachargers” for its electric truck, which it says will provide 400 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are developing a hybrid electric engine for flight. Called the E-Fan X program, the three companies expect to be flying a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests, provisionally on a BAe 146 aircraft. Airbus will be responsible for the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls. Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo shaft engine and 2 megawatt (MW) generator, while Siemens will deliver the 2 MW electric motor.

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Cal on December 7th, 2017