Volkswagen Group said it plans to spend 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) by 2025 to develop and manufacture all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in China. The company plans to launch 15 models over the next two to three years, and an additional 25 after 2025.  The group (which includes Audi) is aiming to sell 400,000 of these vehicles per year in China by 2020 and 1.5 million per year by 2025. Many of these vehicles will have a 400- to 600 kilometer driving range — that’s up to 370 miles — on a single full charge.

Globally, Volkswagon Group announced it will spend 34 billion euros ($40 billion) on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2020. This figure will rise to 72 billion euros ($85 billion) by 2022. Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said:

“With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world’s number one player in electric mobility by 2025.”

Buses in London, UK will be powered by waste coffee grounds. A biofuel created by blending oil extracted from coffee waste with diesel is to be added to the public transport fuel supply. Technology firm bio-bean says it has produced enough coffee oil to power one bus for a year. Londoners create 200,000 tonnes of coffee waste a year, according to bio-bean. The company takes the used grounds from coffee shops and instant coffee factories, and extracts oil from it in its factory. This is then processed into a blended biofuel. Currently biofuel made using waste products such as cooking oil and tallow from meat processing is already used in many of London’s 9,500 buses.

India is likely to lead global energy demand growth by 2040, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual World Energy Outlook report. Indian energy demand may rise by 1,005 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) between 2016 to 2040, accounting for 30% of the total growth in world energy demand.  Thus, India will surpass the increase in energy demand of China (790 Mtoe), West Asia (480 Mtoe) and Africa (485 Mtoe) during this period. The US, Japan and Europe are expected to reduce their energy demand over this time frame. Electricity demand in India should double by 2040. The IEA says China will need less energy than previously thought because its government is making big moves toward renewable sources.

The International Energy Agency also projects solar will become the largest source of low-carbon electricity capacity by 2040 as a result of a rapid deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV), led by China and India.

Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the International Energy Agency, said strong demand could increase renewable energy capacity in sub-Saharan Africa by 70% over the next five years. Installed capacity of renewable energy in the region will almost double — from around 35 gigawatts (GW) now to over 60 GW. From Ethiopia to South Africa, millions of people are getting access to electricity for the first time as the African continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects for generation capacity.

“Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules.”

The extent to which Africa reaches its renewable energy goals will depend on how governments deal with strong opposition to renewables by the coal industry and potential job losses there. Recently South Africa’s state-owned electric utility, Eskom, has been reluctant to sign new deals with independent renewable power producers. This has delayed almost 3 gigawatts in new solar and wind projects and shutdown a wind turbine manufacturing plant. Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa at China’s Goldwind, said:

“The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom.”

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have produced a battery-like system capable of storing thermal energy and releasing it when needed. Not only can the system absorb heat from the Sun, it’s also capable of harness waste energy from industrial processes, energy that is currently going to waste. The MIT system hinges upon the use of a phase change material (PCM). When exposed to heat, the substance takes on a liquid form in which it stockpiles energy. When it cools enough to return to a solid state, that energy is released. The system stores around 200 joules of energy per gram and can withstand a temperature change of around 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit). It can retain heat for 10 hours, which is a major improvement over the current standard of just minutes. The system’s creators expect that it will be refined even further with continued study and development. Eventually, the technology could provide a solution for people in developing countries that don’t have a traditional power grid.

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