Here are the latest technology developments in sustainable mobility and travel in the air, land, and maritime industries this August 2022.
Honeywell Aerospace reveals innovations in environmental air travel
In support of US policies designed to help drive emissions reductions in the air transportation sector, which include efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality around airports, Honeywell Aerospace aims to make its flight-critical auxiliary power units (APUs) cleaner and more efficient.
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded $20.4 million in grants to fund zero-emission airport vehicles, including their electric charging infrastructure, and electrify the ramp equipment used to service planes at the gate. An examination of APUs at the gate and on the ramp is included.
APUs are small, onboard turbine engines that usually reside in the aircraft’s tail section. They generate the power needed to run the air conditioning, lights, communications systems, and cockpit displays while the aircraft is on the ground. When needed, an APU can restart an engine or provide power to the cabin and cockpit during flight, as in the famous “Miracle on the Hudson” landing that made Capt. Sully Sullenberger a household name. The APU is a flight-critical system required for aircraft to meet ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operations Performance Standards) for a flight over water and remote areas. Honeywell has produced more APUs than anyone else—more than 100,000 since it introduced the first one in the mid-1950s.
According to Honeywell, when conventional fossil fuel is used, APUs contribute a small fraction (less than 1%) of the total greenhouse gas footprint left by a typical commercial aircraft. To mitigate the environmental impact of APUs, Honeywell is working aggressively to modify its APUs to operate on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The company estimates that running engines on 100% SAF will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Honeywell APUs by up to 80%. Honeywell engineers are also working to improve the fuel efficiency of its APUs. For example, the HGT1700 APU that flies on the Airbus A350 is more powerful, efficient, and reliable than previous generations of systems. The HGT1700 features variable speed capability to increase starting power while lowering specific fuel consumption by up to 10%, even as it also recently introduced a fuel-saving feature for the world’s most utilized APU, the 131-9 for narrowbody aircraft and its new High-Efficiency Mode (HEM) upgrade delivering fuel-efficiency improvements of close to 2%.
Honeywell is also the leading developer and licensor of technologies to produce SAF. Its technology converts fats, oils, and grease to fuels that are a drop-in replacement for conventional aviation fuels. The technology is currently in use at four SAF plants worldwide, including two in the United States and two in Italy. (Story and photo courtesy of Honeywell Aerospace)
Watch Honeywell Aerospace’s video here: https://youtu.be/3eMcOmGS6AU
Singapore, Rotterdam ports to create world’s longest ‘green and digital’ corridor
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the world’s longest “Green and Digital Corridor” to enable low and zero-carbon shipping.
Held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on the sidelines of the biennial World Cities Summit, the MoU was signed by MPA Chief Executive Quah Ley Hoon and Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein. The MoU will bring together stakeholders across the supply chain to realize the first sustainable vessels sailing on the route by 2027. Also present to witness the signing ceremony were S. Iswaran, Minister for Transport and Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations, Singapore, and Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.
Singapore and Rotterdam are among the largest bunkering ports in the world, making them vital links on the Asian-European shipping lanes. While international shipping uses mainly marine gas oil (MGO) and low-sulfur fuel oil, sustainable alternatives such as biofuels, including biogases, are increasingly being made available. Other options such as synthetic methane, hydrogen, and hydrogen-based fuels, including ammonia and methanol, are in various stages of R&D for future trials and deployment. Beyond alternative fuels, the MoU also aims to optimize maritime efficiency, safety, and the transparent flow of goods by creating a digital trade lane where relevant data, electronic documentation, and standards are shared. It will facilitate the seamless movement of vessels and cargo and optimize the just-in-time arrival of ships from port to port.
The MPA Chief Executive shared that the MoU further strengthened the strong partnership between Singapore and Rotterdam. “It reaffirms Singapore’s commitment towards facilitating a multi-fuel bunkering transition as part of the Maritime Singapore Decarbonization Blueprint 2050 and accelerates our digitalization efforts to optimize maritime efficiency and improve supply chain resilience. The pilot will complement efforts undertaken by the shipping industry, including partners such as Google Cloud and the IMO, to support decarbonization and digitalization transition for international shipping as we work towards developing and scaling up green and digital solutions for wider adoption,” said Ley Hoon.
Castelein said, “Shipping is among the most important industries to decarbonize, owing to its large international reach and volume, which continues to grow. By bringing together parties across the supply chain along one of the world’s biggest trade lanes, we can enable carriers to switch to zero-carbon fuels and speed up the transition to more sustainable shipping”. (Story and photo courtesy of MPA and the Port of Rotterdam Authority)
Caption: Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, Singapore Minister of Transport and Trade Relations S. Iswaran, and Singapore MPA CEO Quah Ley Hoon at the MoU signing.
Energy Dome launches world’s first CO2 battery long-duration energy storage plant
The leading provider of utility-scale long-duration energy storage, Energy Dome, recently announced the successful launch of its first CO2 battery facility in Sardinia, Italy. This milestone marks the final de-risking of the CO2 battery technology as Energy Dome enters the commercial scaling phase. It also became the first commercial long-duration energy storage technology on the market, offering a reliable alternative to fossil fuels for dispatchable baseload power globally. With the launch of its commercial demonstration facility, the company’s energy storage technology is ready for market.
Energy Dome is an energy storage solution provider that is unlocking renewable energy by making solar and wind power dispatchable using the CO2 battery. Led by a team with a track record of innovation in the energy sector, the company’s low-cost energy storage technology helps accelerate the global transition to renewable energy by enabling greater penetration of renewables on the grid.
The initial phase of operations has confirmed the performance of the CO2 battery and its capability of storing energy for a long duration, all while maintaining highly competitive round-trip efficiency without degradation or site dependency. The Sardinia demonstration project has proven this innovative process using off-the-shelf equipment available from a globally established supply chain, demonstrating that the rapid global deployment of the CO2 battery is now possible with no bottlenecks.
Energy Dome’s CO2 batteries can be quickly deployed anywhere in the world at less than half the cost of similar-sized lithium-ion battery storage facilities and use readily available materials, such as carbon dioxide, steel, and water. Energy Dome is now preparing for its first full-scale 20MW-200MWh plant. Its first commercial project, Commercial Operation Date, is expected to be deployed by the end of 2023. It has also secured commercial agreements, including with Italian utility A2A for constructing the first 20MW-5h facility. It also signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Ansaldo Energia, a primary provider of power generation plants and components, to build long-duration energy storage projects in Italy, Germany, the Middle East, and Africa.
Initial operations began in February 2020 and have progressed from a concept to complete testing at a multi-megawatt scale in just over two years. To achieve this, Energy Dome has tapped a team of experts in turbomachinery, process engineering, and energy, with a proven track record in ventures designing novel turbines and building over 500MW of energy projects. This successful launch is also partly due to the unique nature of Energy Dome’s process, which integrates known components in a novel industrial approach based on a thermodynamic transformation of CO2. (Story and photos courtesy of Energy Dome)
Watch a video clip of the Energy Dome here: https://youtu.be/LXSSH6ZuOWk
Mahindra, Volkswagen alliance to accelerate electrification of Indian automotive market
The Volkswagen Group and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) recently announced their strategic alliance, intending to expand the two automotive companies’ cooperation. Both companies signed a term sheet on the supply of MEB (Modular electric drive matrix) electric components for Mahindra’s new, purpose-built electric platform Inglo, deepening the partnering agreement from earlier this year. The cooperation intends to have more than 1 million units over a lifetime and includes the equipment of five all-electric SUVs with MEB components. In addition, the two companies will explore further opportunities for collaboration, opening the perspective toward a broader strategic alliance to accelerate the electrification of the Indian automotive market.
Mahindra showcased its new electric SUV family at the Mahindra Born EV vision unveil event in Banbury, United Kingdom. The electric SUVs will be launched on the all-new Inglo platform architecture. They will be equipped with MEB components, including the electric drivetrain, the battery system, and Volkswagen’s unified cell. The term sheet covers all significant commercial and technical terms along with a path to the potential localization of the battery system. The final supply agreement will be negotiated by the end of 2022.
Regarding the next step toward a possible strategic alliance for India, both companies agree to explore other potential areas of collaboration in the field of e-mobility, including vehicle projects, the localization of battery cell manufacturing, and charging and energy solutions for the electric ecosystem in India.
With around 3 million new vehicles per year, India is one of the five largest automobile markets in the world and, along with China, the only region to record an increase in new registrations in the first half of 2022. The electrification of the passenger car segment is expected to gain significant momentum in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen of America (VWoA) recently marked the production of its all-electric ID.4 compact SUV in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The ID.4 EV is the company’s first EV assembled in the United States. The ID.4 is Volkswagen Group’s most popular all-electric model, with 190,000 units delivered to customers globally since its launch in 2021. Volkswagen aims to ramp up ID.4 assembly in Chattanooga to 7,000 vehicles per month later this year to further increase output through 2023. Consumers can expect vehicles to be delivered as early as October 2022. Initially, the American-assembled ID.4 will be available in either rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive 82kWh battery form. In addition, a rear-wheel-drive version with a 62kWh battery will go into production later in 2022, with a lower MSRP. (Story and photos courtesy of Volkswagen)
Irena asserts renewable power remains cost-competitive
The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future and also serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a center of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource, and financial knowledge on renewable energy, observed that costs for renewables continued to fall in 2021 as supply chain challenges and rising commodity prices have yet to show their full impact on project costs. The cost of electricity from onshore wind fell by 15%, offshore wind by 13%, and solar PV by 13% compared to 2020. A new Irena report shows that almost two-thirds of renewable power added in 2021 had lower costs than the cheapest coal-fired options in G20 countries.
Irena promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar, and wind energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security, and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. With a mandate from countries worldwide, Irena encourages governments to adopt enabling policies for renewable energy investments and provides practical tools and policy advice to accelerate renewable energy deployment. Moreover, it facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer to provide clean, sustainable energy for the world’s growing population.
The Renewable Power Generation Costs published recently by Irena in 2021 shows that almost two-thirds of 163 gigawatts (GW) of newly installed renewable power in 2021 had lower costs than the world’s cheapest coal-fired option in the G20. Irena estimated that, given the current high fossil fuel prices, the renewable power added in 2021 would save around $55 billion from global energy generation costs in 2022.
Irena’s new report confirms the critical role that cost-competitive renewables play in addressing today’s energy and climate emergencies by accelerating the transition in line with the 1.5°C warming limit and the Paris Agreement goals. Solar and wind energy, with their relatively short project lead times, represent vital planks in countries’ efforts to reduce swiftly and eventually phase out fossil fuels and limit the macroeconomic damages they cause in pursuit of net zero.
As highlighted by Irena’s cost data, investments in renewables will continue to pay huge dividends in 2022. In non-OECD countries, the 109 GW of renewable energy additions in 2021 that cost less than the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired option will reduce costs by at least $5.7 billion annually for the next 25 to 30 years. As to supply chains, Irena’s data suggests that not all materials cost increases have been passed through into equipment prices and project costs yet. If material costs remain elevated, the price pressures in 2022 will be more pronounced. The overall gains of cost-competitive renewables might dwarf increases compared to higher fossil fuel prices. (Story and infographic courtesy of Irena)
Watch Irena’s video here: https://youtu.be/ceANxuMsiVY