The Philippines has legislated the electrification of its transport industry. With the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (Evida) officially becoming Republic Act 11697, its expansive scope opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the country and its transport and automotive sectors. It makes it more possible for mainstream Philippine society to experience cutting-edge innovations and technologies for practical and daily applications.
What are these exciting transport innovations from around the world that may soon be available to us in the Philippines? TessDrive lists the following 30 developments:
1) EV reimagining at BrightDrop, FedEx
BrightDrop, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is a reimagining of the retail delivery and logistics industry. Its electric vehicles (EVs), smart containers, and software portfolio are designed to decarbonize last-mile deliveries and reduce congestion.
Just recently, a BrightDrop driver, in collaboration with FedEx, set a Guinness world record for the most significant distance traveled by an electric van on a single charge. The nearly 260-mile road trip was completed in a BrightDrop Zevo 600 from New York City to Washington, DC.
BrightDrop Zevo 600 driver Stephen Marlin achieved the feat just in time for Earth Day 2022. The vehicle stopped at a couple of iconic destinations along the route, including landmarks in Philadelphia and Baltimore.
“Since the beginning, the Zevo 600 has been a record-setting vehicle. Now we’re seeing firsthand what BrightDrop can do by pairing our zero-operating-emissions technology with FedEx, a leader in the transportation and delivery industry,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO. “Having a long battery range with reliable power is critical to electrifying delivery fleets everywhere. This special delivery highlights our products’ advanced capabilities and our mission to decarbonize deliveries.”
BrightDrop delivered its first electric light commercial vehicles to FedEx after completing its first production builds of the Zevo 600 in just 20 months, making it the fastest vehicle to market in GM’s history. Combining the focus and agility of a startup with GM’s manufacturing might and expertise enabled BrightDrop’s speed to market. At the same time, it is positioned to help some of the world’s largest companies tackle some of the most prominent climates- and emissions-related challenges the world faces today. (Story and photo courtesy of GM and FedEx)
2) Hertz, Polestar accelerate EV adoption
Hertz and Polestar recently announced their global strategic partnership to accelerate EV implementation. Part of the partnership is Hertz’s intention to purchase up to 65,000 EVs from the Swedish premium electric performance car maker in over five years. Availability of these new EVs is expected to begin in spring 2022 in Europe and late 2022 in North America and Australia.
Hertz Corp is one of the largest worldwide vehicle rental companies, and the Hertz brand is one of the most recognized globally. Additionally, the company operates the Firefly vehicle rental brand and Hertz 24/7 car sharing business in international markets and sells vehicles through Hertz Car Sales.
For Hertz, the partnership is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to lead in electrification, shared mobility, and a digital-first customer experience. The collaboration with Polestar builds on Hertz’s announcement last October to offer its customers the largest EV rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world. Aside from making the fleet available to its business and leisure customers, Hertz extends EVs to rideshare drivers to further accelerate electrification.
Polestar was established as a new, standalone Swedish premium EV manufacturer in 2017. Founded by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding, Polestar enjoys specific technological and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars and benefits from significant economies of scale. The EV manufacturer’s current headquarters is in Gothenburg, Sweden. Its vehicles are currently available in Europe, North America, China, and Asia Pacific markets. Their cars are now manufactured in two facilities in China, with additional future manufacturing planned in the United States.
Moreover, Polestar is one of the drivers of global EV growth, helping accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility as consumer interest in the environmental and convenience benefits of electrification increases. The company reported that it nearly tripled volumes in 2021 and anticipates more than doubling volumes again this year. They expect volumes to reach 290,000 vehicles per year by 2025. Polestar previously announced its intention to list on Nasdaq New York in a proposed business combination with Gores Guggenheim Inc, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. (Story and photo courtesy of Polestar and Hertz)
3) GM, Honda to co-develop affordable EVs
General Motors (GM) and Honda (HMC) recently announced their plans to expand the two companies’ relationship to a new chapter by co-developing a series of affordable EVs based on a new global architecture using next-generation Ultium battery technology. One of the key targets eyes the most popular vehicle segments globally. Moreover, the two automakers will explore opportunities for advanced battery collaboration.
The companies are working together to enable the global production of millions of EVs starting in 2027, including compact crossover vehicles, leveraging the two companies’ technology, design, and sourcing strategies. The companies will also work toward standardizing equipment and processes to achieve world-class quality, higher throughput, and greater affordability. The compact crossover segment is the largest globally, with annual volumes of more than 13 million vehicles.
“GM and Honda will share our best technology, design, and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs globally, including our key markets in North America, South America, and China,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO. “This is a key step to deliver on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in our global products and operations by 2040 and eliminate tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles in the United States by 2035. By working together, we’ll put people all over the world into EVs faster than either company could achieve on its own.”
GM and Honda also will discuss future EV battery technology collaboration opportunities to drive down the cost of electrification further, improve performance and drive sustainability for future vehicles. GM is already working to accelerate new technologies like lithium-metal, silicon, and solid-state batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be used to improve and update battery cell manufacturing processes. Honda is making progress on its all-solid-state battery technology, which it sees as the core element of future EVs. Honda has established a demonstration line in Japan for all-solid-state batteries and is progressing toward mass production.
For his part, Honda president and CEO Toshihiro Mibe shared, “Honda is committed to reaching our goal of carbon neutrality on a global basis by 2050, which requires driving down the cost of EVs to make EV ownership possible for the greatest number of customers. Honda and GM will build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve a dramatic expansion in the sales of EVs.” (Story and photo courtesy of General Motors)
4) Qantas targets zero-emission by 2050
The Qantas Group recently outlined the specific steps to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including an interim target to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2030. The Australian airline company also released its Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, making sustainability a key pillar of decision-making across all business areas.
“Aviation is a crucial industry, especially in a country the size of Australia. Having a clear plan to decarbonize Qantas and Jetstar so we can keep delivering these services in the decades ahead is absolutely key to our future,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “We’ve had a zero net emissions goal for several years, so today’s interim targets are about accelerating our progress and cutting emissions as quickly as technology allows.”
As part of the plan, Qantas announced key targets for fuel efficiency and the uptake of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which will be critical for reaching net-zero emissions, reducing waste, and growing the Group’s industry-leading carbon offsetting program.
Targets for reducing environmental footprint: 10% use of SAF in the Group’s fuel mix by 2030, and approximately 60% by 2050; zero single-use plastics by 2027 and zero general waste (excluding quarantine waste) to landfills by 2030; increase fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year to 2030, achieved through updating aircraft fleet and using more efficient flight planning while continuing research into next-generation technologies, including hydrogen and battery power, and; continue to build offsetting program, particularly in key Australian projects.
Qantas also announced that it would be signing a memorandum of understanding with ANZ and Inpex for a major integrated reforestation and carbon farming project in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region, an area the size of Belgium in the southwest of the state. The project would see marginal farming land replanted with sustainable, drought-resistant native plant species, aiming to improve the environment and generate Australian carbon credits to help offset the three companies’ future carbon footprints. Longer-term, it would also create a potential SAF production source from cut-back mallee trees. (Story and photo courtesy of Qantas Group)
5) Maersk sets milestone 2030 targets
Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk (Maersk) recently announced its new aspiring emissions targets expected to align the company with the Net Zero criteria of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C. They include a societal commitment to act now and drive material impact in this decade and a commitment to deliver net-zero supply chains to customers by 2040. The targets go beyond previous efforts to reduce emissions related to the ocean fleet as they cover all direct and indirect emissions across the entire Maersk business.
According to the shipping company, these ambitious targets are set for its entire business to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2040—one decade ahead of its initial 2050 ambition. Also, it is associated with the 2030 targets that will ensure industry-leading green offerings and significant emissions reductions already in this decade.
“As a global provider of end-to-end logistics services across all transport modes, it is a strategic imperative for Maersk to extend our net-zero ambition to the total footprint of the business. The science is clear; we must act now to deliver significant progress in this decade. These very ambitious targets mark our commitment to society and the many customers who call for net-zero supply chains,” said Soren Skou, CEO of Maersk.
Tangible near-term targets for 2030 are set to ensure significant progress on curbing direct Maersk emissions already in this decade. These include a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet and a 70% reduction in absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals. Depending on growth in the ocean business, this will lead to total emissions reductions between 35 and 50% from a 2020 baseline.
As recommended by SBTi, Maersk will go above and beyond the 1.5°C-aligned targets over the decade and invest in building a portfolio of natural climate solutions that will result in around 5 million tons of CO2 savings per year. (Story and photo courtesy of Maersk)
6) Nacero to build 1st US facility to produce gasoline from natural gas
Established in 2015, Nacero Inc has over 500 years of combined successful extensive project experience across power, renewables, LNG, fuels, and chemicals. One of its goals is to bring new gasoline to market, made from natural gas and renewable natural gas, not crude oil. Based in Houston, Texas, the company plans to build production facilities where it can create environmental and economic benefits for its consumers, host communities, commercial counterparties, and shareholders.
Recently, the company and the Odessa Development Corp announced plans to build a $7-billion lower-carbon gasoline manufacturing facility at Penwell, Texas, in two phases. Phase one will produce 70,000 barrels per day of gasoline components (ready for blending). Phase two will increase that capacity to 100,000 bpd. The gasoline produced at the facility will contain no sulfur and have half the lifecycle carbon footprint of traditional gasoline. The gasoline will be made from a combination of natural gas, captured bio-methane, and mitigated flare gas.
Nacero gasoline will be useable in today’s cars and trucks without modification, will be sold locally and distributed widely, and be cost-competitive with traditional gasoline. The Penwell facility will employ a peak of 3,500 skilled workers during the four years of phase one construction. The plant will use 350 full-time operators and maintenance personnel in three shifts with an annual forecast salary of approximately $85,000 per person when fully operational.
All the plant’s electricity will come from renewable sources, which will be produced on-site from solar panels co-located with the manufacturing facilities on Nacero’s 2,600-acre site. The plant will be the first in the United States to make gasoline from natural gas and the first to do so with carbon capture and sequestration. Sequestered CO2 will be transported via an existing on-site pipeline.
Nacero also announced that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had issued an Air Quality Permit authorizing the construction and operation of the company’s first low and net-zero carbon footprint gasoline manufacturing plant in Penwell, Texas. (Story and photo courtesy of Nacero)
7) CFM, Airbus to pioneer hydrogen combustion tech
CFM International (CFM) is a joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. Recently, the company signed an agreement with Airbus to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration program that will take flight around the middle of this decade. The program objective is to ground and flight test a direct combustion engine fueled by hydrogen in preparation for entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.
Safran is an international high-technology group operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment, and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable, and accessible.
CFM will modify the combustor, fuel system, and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen. The engine assembled in the United States was selected because of its physical size, advanced turbomachinery, and fuel flow capability. It will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the flying testbed to allow engine emissions, including contrails, to be monitored separately from those of the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will execute an extensive ground test program ahead of the A380 flight test.
The demonstration will use an A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany. Airbus will define the hydrogen propulsion system requirements, oversee flight testing, and provide the A380 platform to test the hydrogen combustion engine in the cruise phase.
“This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts back in September 2020,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making a zero-emission flight.” (Story and photo courtesy of Safran)
8) Magna simplifies truck electrification with EtelligentForce
Magna is one of the world’s largest suppliers in the automotive space. It’s a mobility technology company based in Ontario with a global, entrepreneurial-minded team of 154,000 employees and an organizational structure designed to innovate like a startup. Early this year, it introduced a reinforcement of its capabilities to produce electrification solutions that deliver the vehicle of the future and greater sustainable mobility for all.
With over 60 years of expertise and a systems approach to design, engineering, and manufacturing that touches nearly every aspect of the vehicle, Magna positions itself to support advancing mobility in a transforming industry. Its global network includes 347 manufacturing operations and 90 product development, engineering, and sales centers spanning 28 countries.
Magna is introducing the EtelligentForce, a battery-electric 4WD powertrain system for pickup trucks and LCVs paired with the Magna eBeam technology. The e-powertrain is designed to maintain full vehicle capabilities without compromising pickup trucks’ and LCVs’ payload or towing capacities.
“EtelligentForce comes at a pivotal time—particularly in the North American auto industry where pickup trucks are at their height of popularity and one of the last segments to become fully electric,” said Tom Rucker, President of Magna Powertrain. “The beauty of this powerful BEV system is that it delivers the environmental benefits of an electric powertrain while maintaining the capability and utility of conventional ¾-ton and 1-ton trucks. We’re excited to be able to share these future-ready solutions with our stakeholders this year.”
EtelligentForce features Magna’s eDrive technology at the front, and its eBeam electrified beam axle at the rear. It’s designed for high-payload vehicles, capable of towing up to 14,500 pounds—easily on par with its ICE counterparts in this truck segment. It can provide a peak power of up to 430 kW—250kW from the rear eBeam and 180kW from the front eDrive. As a bonus, this solution omits the need for architectural changes to the vehicle and is customizable for automakers to prioritize key performance attributes. (Story and photo courtesy of Magna)
9) Ocean Infinity bolsters remote fleet
Ocean Infinity recently contracted VARD to design and construct a new series of six multi-purpose offshore vessels, all of which will be operated from shore and will eventually utilize green ammonia as fuel. This landmark order of six 85-meter, optionally crewed robotic vessels will take Ocean Infinity’s remote fleet to 23 vessels—the largest in the world.
Ocean Infinity is a marine robotics company that deploys autonomous robots, typically in fleet formation, to obtain large amounts of information from the oceans and seabed. It has pioneered the use of simultaneously deploying fleets of marine robots to gather high-quality information from large ocean areas at unprecedented speeds. With the company’s control infrastructure and remote-control center currently undergoing commissioning, transformational low-emission remote operations are becoming a closer reality for the global maritime industry.
This new contract between Ocean Infinity and VARD facilitates the next joint development phase between the two companies, including VARD’s subsidiaries, Vard Design, Vard Electro, and Seaonics. VARD’s vessel systems management and automation techniques coupled with Ocean Infinity’s systems integration capability and remote operations infrastructure will enable remote ship operation on a uniquely global scale.
“Armada will play a huge role in enabling the global maritime community to reduce its carbon emissions from operations at sea. These new 85m vessels will be optimized for inspection, maintenance, repair, and light construction work to offer remote, ultra-low carbon services to the offshore energy market. Like the 78m series currently under construction, the new design continues to drive minimalized environmental impact with its integration of new fuel-cell and battery technology,” said Richard Daltry, Technical Director-Surface Technology at Ocean Infinity.
Ocean Infinity is committed to using technology and innovation to ensure it operates within the oceans in the most environmentally responsible way. Its Armada fleet will be the world’s first carbon-neutral shipping fleet. These robotic ships use hybrid technology and emit up to 90% less CO2 than a conventional survey vessel. In specific applications, the company will run fully electric, completely emission-free. Any remaining carbon emissions produced as a result of Armada operations will be sequestered via approved programs. (Story and photos courtesy of Ocean Infinity)
10) BYD signs strategic MOU with UzAuto
BYD Auto Industry Co Ltd (BYD) and Uzavtosanoat JSC (UzAuto) have agreed in a strategic memorandum of understanding to develop, produce and popularize new energy vehicles (NEVs) in the region. This is an important alliance that would also benefit sustainable development within the automotive industry on a global scale.
The two parties recently signed the MOU via an online ceremony, with Michael Shu, General Manager/Managing Director, BYD Europe/International Cooperation Division, and Urmzakov Shavkat, Chairman of the Board of UzAuto of Uzbekistan leading the signing ceremonies. Representatives from BYD and UzAuto were also in virtual attendance.
BYD, the world’s leading NEV manufacturer, has more than 26 years of experience in battery research and development and is renowned globally for its pioneering innovations in this field. BYD is the only NEV producer to have developed its powertrain systems, power batteries, automotive semiconductors, drive motors, and motor controller systems. It is also one of the first manufacturers worldwide to produce 1 million electric passenger cars.
UzAuto, on the other hand, is the largest and only manufacturer in Central Asia to offer a full range of vehicles. UzAuto has a longstanding heritage spanning several decades. During this time, it has established an excellent reputation within the industry, achieving a significant market share in Uzbekistan and the neighboring region. UzAuto has a solid sales and after-sales network and has gained recognition for outstanding service.
Meanwhile, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD UK recently announced that their EV partnership, the UK’s leading electric bus producer, has supplied 29 BYD ADL Enviro400EV to Abellio London. These all-electric buses are commissioned for Transport for London’s (TfL) route 63 between King’s Cross and Honor Oak. Also, these zero-emission double-deckers have innovative features, making them an even more attractive, green alternative to the car as London recovers from the pandemic. (Story and photos courtesy of BYD Europe)
11) Boeing joins GE, NASA hybrid electric project
In 2021, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and GE Aviation announced a new partnership to mature a megawatt-class hybrid electric engine to power a single-aisle aircraft. The project got one step closer to takeoff, recently, as GE Aviation has selected Boeing to modify the plane that will test the propulsion system in the air.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components, and commercial and military aircraft systems. Also, it has a global service network to support these offerings. The NASA-GE partnership is part of NASA’s Electric Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) project. The five-year, $260-million effort is funded by investments from NASA, GE Aviation, Boeing, and other partners.
Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences will modify the test plane, a Saab 340B aircraft powered by GE CT7-9B turboprop engines. That work includes manufacturing the nacelle—the pod that holds the engine under the wing—flight deck software and interface design, tools to analyze the plane’s performance, and other systems integration.
Boeing acquired Aurora, a leader in electric flight propulsion, in 2017. Aurora will produce nacelles at its plants in Mississippi and West Virginia. The systems engineering and testing work will take place at its Virginia headquarters.
The NASA project isn’t GE’s only foray into electric flight. Scientists at GE Research are also working with the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) division to design an electricity-driven propulsion system for aircraft. The concept behind that system is to mix gasified biofuel and compressed air to produce electricity and heat, with the electricity spinning the engine fan and the heat exhaust being used to add more propulsion, not unlike the use of exhaust in a combined-cycle power plant. The goal is to create a powerful and light system to keep a 175,000-pound commercial airliner and its 175 passengers aloft. (Story and photo courtesy of GE Aviation)
12) UK-wide zero-emission aviation network eyed
A UK aviation consortium featuring representatives from airports, manufacturers, and academic institutions have today released their interim findings on the viability of achieving zero-emission flight in the country. Members of the consortium include Heathrow, London, Highlands and Islands airports, GKN, Rolls Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, University College London, Cranfield University, the University of Southampton, and Deloitte.
Over the past year, Project Napkin (New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network), funded through the UK Government Innovate UK Future Flight Challenge, has evaluated each part of the future aviation system. From future aircraft and their performance, infrastructure at airports, viable economic models, and passenger attitudes. One of the project’s expectations is zero carbon emission flights (ZEF) in the UK in 2025 for short routes between the mainland and island destinations. ZEF can be scaled up to connect other regions of the United Kingdom by 2030 and the Consortium, led by Heathrow, believes a zero-carbon emission flight network is possible by 2040.
Central to the project has been the analysis of three aircraft, a 9-seat Britten-Norman Islander, a 19 seat DHC-6 Twin Otter, and a reconfigured 48-seat ATR 72-600. The Consortium believes that it would be possible for all three aircraft to be hydrogen retrofitted and that the aircraft’s current airfield and in-flight performance would be largely unaffected. Hydrogen-fueled 19-seat and 48-seat aircraft can viably operate on “lifeline routes” such as from Highlands and Islands airports mid-decade and on regional routes, including between London and Dundee airports around 2030.
In the case of Britten-Norman Islander and DHC-6, it has the potential to operate on lifeline routes such as between the Scottish mainland and islands by the mid-2020s.
Commenting on the interim report, Jenny Kavanagh, Chief Strategy Officer at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, said: “This interim report shows the emergence of zero carbon emissions flight (ZEF) on a small scale by the mid-2020s and, vitally, sets this revolutionary change in context—that achieving ZEF at the sub-regional level is just the beginning; that not only will this first step enable the scale-up of technology and operations to fully fledged ZEF regional flight in the coming decade, but that in itself, it represents an opportunity to develop a new, thriving, inter-connected system of green air services operating from small airfields to complement the existing road and rail networks.” (Story and photo courtesy of Heathrow)
13) DNV Conference explores ‘fuel of the future’
DNV is known as the world’s leading classification society and a recognized advisor for the maritime industry. It delivers world-renowned testing, certification, and technical advisory services to the energy value chain, including renewables, oil and gas, and energy management. Further, it’s one of the world’s leading certification bodies, helping businesses ensure their organizations’ performance, products, people, facilities, and supply chains.
The “DNV Conference – The Fuel of the Future” aims to advance the idea that collaboration is the key to decarbonizing the maritime world. The recently concluded event attracted over 6,500 registrants, bringing together a comprehensive line-up of ship owners, energy majors, financers, and regulators who offered unique insights into how shipping can chart the optimal route ahead.
According to DNV, de-carbonization is the grand challenge of our time—unprecedented in its scale, complexity, and ramifications for the world. It was also the critical question during the DNV conference: How are leading maritime companies breaking down silos and setting aside competition to build a more sustainable future for shipping?
Opening the event, DNV President & Group CEO Remi Eriksen highlighted the progress made at the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow and the challenges that lay ahead. “There is now an explicit plan to reduce coal and phase out subsidies that artificially lower the price of hydrocarbons, and a scheme to cut 30% of methane emissions by 2030 was agreed by more than 100 countries. New commitments to net-zero by the middle of the century mean that 90% of the world economy is now covered, but major challenges still lie ahead.”
Søren Toft, CEO, MSC, offered ship owners’ perspective, stating: “We need partnerships with stakeholders in shipping and up the value chain, including the fuel producers, the engine manufacturers, and the shipyards. When we do that, we will capitalize on the knowledge of these players because we don’t think we have all the answers ourselves. And we believe that shipping must and can decarbonize fully by 2050. At MSC, we have come quite far already, having reduced our relative C02 emissions by 44% since 2008.” (Story and photo courtesy of DNV)
14) GM to broaden electrification via Hydrotec
GM continues to accelerate its growth as a platform innovator. Recently, the company announced new commercial applications of its Hydrotec fuel cell technology. Hydrotec projects, which are currently in development, from heavy-duty trucks to aerospace and locomotives, are being planned for use beyond vehicles for power generation. The Hydrotec-based mobile and fixed power systems are designed to charge EVs, power worksites, data centers, support the military, and even emergency power.
GM is planning multiple Hydrotec-based power generators, all powered by GM’s Generation 2 Hydrotec fuel cell power cubes. These include a mobile power generator (MPG) to provide a fast-charge capability for EVs without installing permanent charge points, the Empower rapid charger to help retail fuel stations add affordable DC fast charging without expanding the grid, and a palletized MPG to quietly and efficiently power military camps and installations.
These fuel cell generators could ultimately replace gas- and diesel-burning generators with fewer emissions at worksites, buildings, movie sets, data centers, outdoor concerts, and festivals. They could also back up or temporarily replace grid-sourced electricity for residential and small commercial enterprises during power disruption.
These Hydrotec-based power generators feature zero-emissions electric power generation output ranging from 60 kilowatts to 600 kilowatts, along with low noise and heat signatures.
GM also announced plans to invest nearly $154 million in its Western New York Lockport Components plant. The investment will be used to renovate the facility and purchase and install new machinery and equipment used in producing the stator module, a key component in an electric motor. Electric motors will be used in various GM’s future Ultium Platform-based electric trucks and SUVs. Facility renovations will begin immediately. (Story and photos courtesy of GM)
15) Atlantic Aviation introduces carbon offset program
Atlantic Aviation, an Aspen fixed base operation (FBO) operator, recently launched its new Carbon Offset Initiative. The program involves the utilization of every gallon of jet fuel for commercial and private aviation at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) that will be offset to be carbon neutral through verified carbon credits purchased by Atlantic Aviation. The offset program took effect Dec. 1, 2021, and will be embedded in all future aviation fuel sales, both jet, and avgas, at ASE.
According to Atlantic Aviation, the new carbon offset program is the latest in a series of sustainable initiatives being implemented by the company at the Aspen FBO with support from administrators and community leaders in Pitkin County. These initiatives aim to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint generated by aircraft operations at the Aspen FBO whenever possible and position ASE as a national leader in sustainable aviation practices.
“The new Carbon Offset Initiative introduced by Atlantic Aviation reflects ASE’s commitment to being a national leader in sustainable aviation practices,” said Jonathan Jones, General Manager for Atlantic Aviation. “While the availability of elective purchases of carbon offsets have recently increased within the aviation community, we are pleased to take ASE’s commitment a step further by having carbon offsets embedded in the sale of all aviation fuel at the airport.”
Tim Bannon, COO of Atlantic Aviation, shared, “The Carbon Offset Initiative at ASE is a first of its kind program for Atlantic Aviation and a great example of what’s possible when we partner with communities that share our commitment to responsible environmental leadership.”
In commemoration of Earth Day, Atlantic Aviation also announced the availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at its ASE fixed base operation. Also introduced last April 2021 was renewable diesel and the elimination of fossil-based diesel at the company’s Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) FBO. The change is part of Atlantic Aviation’s commitment to increasing sustainability in the aviation industry. (Story and photos courtesy of Atlantic Aviation)
Watch this short video of how Atlantic Aviation plans to implement its Carbon Offset Initiative at ASE: https://player.vimeo.com/video/657630200?h=73a02739ac
16) Sony enters EV race with 2 prototypes
In 2020, Sony Group Corp (Sony) announced Vision-S as one of its newest innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show. The initiative aims to contribute to the evolution of mobility, and the tech company exhibited a prototype vehicle at its booth. Sony even demonstrated this concept in the real world by doing public road testing in Europe in December of the same year. It also began verification tests of the safety and user experience of the imaging and sensing technology installed inside and outside the vehicle and the human-machine interface (HMI) system. In April 2021, Sony began 5G driving tests, and continues to apply its cutting-edge technologies to provide new experiences in mobility.
According to Sony, Vision-S continues its aim of evolving mobility to be even closer to people while developing technologies centered on safety and security, adaptability, and entertainment. At the recently concluded CES 2022, Sony announced and exhibited an SUV-type prototype vehicle, Vision-S 02, as a new form factor and a vehicle that accommodates diverse values and lifestyles.
This vehicle uses the same EV/cloud platform as the prototype Vision-S 01 tested on public roads. By offering entertainment experiences utilizing the ample interior space and variations of a 7-seater, this new prototype will, together with Vision-S 01, promote the accommodation of a large variety of lifestyles within a society where values are becoming increasingly diversified.
Sony claims that the system supports safe driving by recognizing and analyzing the surrounding environment in real-time, with sensors installed 360 degrees around the vehicle in terms of safe and secure mobility. These sensors include high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range CMOS image sensors and LiDAR sensors that accurately sense three-dimensional space.
To further accelerate and make new proposals that further evolve the mobility experience, the company will establish an operating company, Sony Mobility Inc, in spring of 2022. The company intends to explore entry into the EV market and make the best use of artificial intelligence and robotics technologies and help realize a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots daily, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society. With Vision-S, which contributes to the evolution of mobility, together with the autonomous entertainment robot Aibo and the drone Airpeak, Sony will seek to continue to create new value in a variety of fields. (Story and photo courtesy of Sony)
Watch the Vision-S concept, design, and performance here: https://youtu.be/P0cQQvvM5Qk, https://youtu.be/3jZmLIe_vEA, https://youtu.be/K9bC81mPR6s
17) Europe’s 1st hydrogen-based climate-neutral container terminal coming up
The largest container terminal in the European hinterland is underway in Port Duisburg, Germany. It will be the first terminal with completely climate-neutral operations using hydrogen and intelligent networking to supply neighboring districts with energy. On the former Coal Island site will stand the trimodal Duisburg Gateway Terminal (DGT) by 2023 together with its international partners Cosco Shipping Logistics, Hupac SA, and the HTS Group.
To implement the complete energy transformation of the world’s largest inland port, Duisport and the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology, Umsicht has analyzed forward-looking technologies. Moreover, they have developed customized models for Europe’s largest hinterland hub as part of the enerPort project.
In the follow-up project enerPort II, the next step would be to install a sustainable energy system in the DGT that links renewable energies, energy storage, consumers, and various hydrogen technologies. Critical components for this are fuel cell systems and hydrogen engines for power generation and battery storage.
The enerPort II project aims to investigate where inland ports can be supported in their energy transformation. The outcome is a method that combines, optimizes, and evaluates various energy plants and Power-to-X technologies.
“In the DGT, our operations will not only be state-of-the-art, digital and efficient but also 100% climate-neutral. The largest development project since logport I 22 years ago is a model project with a resonance far beyond the Port of Duisburg. It shows what the logistics and energy supply of tomorrow will look like,” said Duisport CEO Markus Bangen. (Story and photo courtesy of Duisport)
18) AKKA reveals 100% electric hydrogen-powered concept aircraft
In December 2021, European leader in engineering consulting and R&D services AKKA revealed Green&Fly, a fully electric, hydrogen-powered concept aircraft. It featured a disruptive design based around a rhombohedral wing shape. Designed to carry up to 30 passengers for a range of 500km, it’s a zero-emission concept for flights at a regional scale.
AKKA’s comprehensive portfolio of digital solutions combined with its expertise in engineering uniquely positions it to support its clients by leveraging the power of connected data to accelerate innovation and drive the future of the smart industry. It also accompanies leading industry players across a wide range of sectors throughout the life cycle of their products with cutting-edge digital technologies (AI, ADAS, IoT, Big Data, robotics, embedded computing, machine learning, among others) to help them rethink their products and business processes. In 2020, the group recorded revenues of €1.5 billion.
Green&Fly is a light and small aircraft (classification CS25) with a futuristic design and a sophisticated mechanism powered by hydrogen fuel cell batteries and supercapacitors. It’s also a regional transport alternative that aims to enhance mobility in mid-sized cities with no large hubs. Able to cope with runways of any length (even short take-offs and landings), it can operate on existing networks of aerodromes, thus leveraging underused infrastructures. The concept combines the latest technologies and explores various configurations to optimize the aircraft’s aerodynamic performance and energy consumption, maximizing its electrification potential.
Compared to a classic wing shape, the rhombohedral wing generates less turbulence at the wing extremity, allowing a significant reduction in drag, opening new possibilities for a highly efficient propulsion system. The stiffening of its structures is inspired by biomimicry based on the growth process of a leaf’s veins to improve stiffening efficiency, reducing the mass of the aircraft. The cabin design is flexible to maximize the utilization rate, allowing the aircraft to be easily converted from passenger to freighter. The cockpit integrates digital applications and AI to facilitate single-pilot operations. The aircraft design also incorporates energy recovery landing gear with electric extension/retraction, intending to steadily replace all hydraulic components with electric ones to reduce emissions.
Meanwhile, AKKA also revealed the first fully rideable prototype of the NAWA Racer e-motorbike. It was developed by leading French energy storage experts NAWA Technologies, AKKA Technologies, Pronergy, FAAR, and YSY Group. The world-first hybrid battery-powered e-motorbike was presented during the recently concluded EICMA 2021 – the world’s biggest two-wheeled show in Milan. The NAWA Racer can reach a range of up to 300 km in an urban environment. (Story and photos courtesy of AKKA)
Watch how the NAWA Racer came from design to reality here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh4yDDzttF4
19) United flies 1st ever flight with passengers using 100% SAF
In December last year, United conducted an unprecedented flight that served as a turning point in the industry’s effort to combat climate change. For the first time in aviation history, a commercial carrier flew an aircraft full of passengers using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). At the same time, the aviation company announced the second round of corporate participants in the airline’s Eco-Skies Alliance program to contribute towards the purchase of SAF collectively.
United is the world leader in the use and support for the development of SAF, an alternative fuel made with non-petroleum feedstocks, already having agreements to purchase nearly twice as much SAF as the known agreements of all other global airlines combined. SAF can deliver the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel, but with a fraction of its carbon footprint. According to the US Department of Energy, the country’s vast feedstock resources are enough to meet the projected fuel demand of the entire US aviation industry.
The demonstration flight, which departed Dec 1, boarded more than 100 passengers from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and landed at Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport. The airbus used in the demonstration was the new United 737 MAX 8 and used 500 gallons of SAF in one engine and the same amount of conventional jet fuel in the other engine. It further proved there were no operational differences between the two and set the stage for more scalable utilization of SAF by all airlines in the future. Currently, airlines are only permitted to use a maximum of 50% SAF on board. The SAF used on this flight was drop-in ready and compatible with existing aircraft fleets.
United operated this unprecedented flight in partnership with Boeing, CFM International (50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines), Virent—a subsidiary of Marathon—whose technology enables 100% drop-in SAF, and World Energy—the world’s first and North America’s only commercial SAF producer.
United’s Eco-Skies Alliance program was launched in April 2021 and has collectively contributed to purchasing more than 7 million gallons of SAF that year. With its nearly 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel, this is enough SAF to eliminate approximately 66,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, or enough to fly passengers more than 460 million miles. The program has nearly 30 participants, including companies like DHL Global Forwarding, HP Inc, and Nike. The new participants include American Family Insurance, Biogen, Bolloré Logistics, CWT, Maersk, Meta, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Salesforce, Visa, Yusen Logistics, Zurich, North America. The SAF flight and new Eco-Skies Alliance participants are among the latest accomplishments towards United’s goal to be 100% green by reducing GHG emissions by 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets.
20) Crowley announces 2050 net-zero commitment
Crowley recently announced its commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all scopes by 2050. It also includes pursuing a path aligned with the latest climate science to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To reach this target, Crowley estimates that it will reduce overall emissions by 4.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per year, or the equivalent of removing more than 900,000 cars from the road every year.
Founded in 1892, Crowley is a privately held, US-owned and operated logistics, government, marine, and energy solutions company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Four primary business units worldwide provide services—Crowley Logistics, Crowley (Government) Solutions, Crowley Shipping and Crowley Fuels. Expanding geographically and into new lines of business over the years, the company has grown to more than 6,300 employees worldwide with annual revenues of more than $2.5 billion.
As it lays the groundwork for a clean energy future, Crowley is creating partnerships across the industry with government and non-government organizations to achieve de-carbonization and climate action collaboratively. These include the Blue Sky Maritime Coalition, which is focused on the North American maritime value chain, and the World Shipping Council, focusing on the global container shipping industry.
“Crowley’s value chain accounts for over 80% of our emissions across the enterprise. Collaboration with customers and partners is key to our mutual success reaching net-zero emissions using science-based standards,” said Alisa Praskovich, vice president of sustainability. “By creating mutual accountability, we will spur innovation through the open sharing of ideas.”
Pioneers of innovative, high-powered ship assist tugboats, Crowley Maritime Corp, meanwhile, leads the next generation of industry sustainability by building and operating eWolf, the first all-electric-powered harbor tugboat that can complete a job without expending a drop of fuel. The 82-foot vessel with 70 tons of bollard pull will reduce 178 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter, and 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) versus a conventional tug for the first 10 years of use. The electric tug will replace one that consumes more than 30,000 gallons of diesel per year. The eTug will operate at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and be operational by mid-2023. (Story and photos courtesy of Crowley)
View the concept and design of the Crowley eTug here: https://youtu.be/9HgFFb1eQjI
21) Toyota focuses on carbon neutrality
In December last year, Toyota Motor Corp announced it would invest approximately $3.4 billion in automotive batteries in the United States through 2030. Specifically, the investment is for developing and localizing automotive battery production, including those for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and is part of the global total of around $13.5 billion set aside for investment in battery development and production.
To drive battery production localization, Toyota Motor North America also announced that it would establish a new company and build an automotive battery plant together with Toyota Tsusho in the States. Aiming to start production in 2025, the project includes an investment of approximately $1.29 billion until 2031. It has funds that will be used to develop land and build facilities, resulting in the creation of 1,750 new American jobs.
“Toyota’s commitment to electrification is about achieving long-term sustainability for the environment, American jobs, and consumers,” said Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. “This investment will help usher in more affordable EVs for US consumers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and importantly, create even more American jobs tied to the future of mobility.”
Part of the new company’s activities will include helping Toyota develop further and expand its local supply chain and production knowledge related to Lithium-ion automotive batteries. The venture will first focus on producing batteries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Additionally, the move is expected to help further its goals to create a net positive impact on the planet and society, including advancing its efforts towards carbon neutrality sustainably and practically. Further details of the project, including information on a site, production capacity, business structure, among others, will be revealed.
Cumulatively, Toyota has sold more than 18.7 million EVs, including over 4.5 million in the States. While EVs already account for nearly 25% of Toyota’s US sales volume, that number is expected to rise to almost 70% by 2030. It continues to steadily expand its EV lineup, including HEVs, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), fuel cells (FCEVs), and BEVs, from 55 models today to about 70 models by 2025. Of the 70, 15 will be BEVs, including seven Toyota bZ (Beyond Zero) models. By 2030, Toyota expects to sell 2 million zero-emission vehicles (BEVs and FCEVs) globally. The company expects to sell between 1.5 million to 1.8 million EVs, including ZEV models. (Story and photos courtesy of Toyota USA)
22) American Airlines named to sustainability leaders list
In November 2021, it was announced that American Airlines (AA) had been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the first time. The recognition was a testament to the airline’s ongoing commitment to excellence on matters of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), including reducing carbon emissions from its operation, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion; and providing regular and transparent ESG disclosures.
AA is the only passenger airline to appear on the 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, which comprises North American sustainability leaders identified by S&P Global through the Corporate Sustainability Assessment. Based on long-term economic, environmental, and social criteria, it represents the top 20% of the largest 600 North American companies in the S&P Global Broad Market Index (BMI).
American recently released its latest ESG Report, which details its progress on important ESG priorities in 2020 and provides the airline’s updated analysis of its path to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The company is the first US airline with a clear path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and it is committed to developing an intermediate, science-based target for 2035. The company has invested in newer, fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable fuel, and more to reach this goal.
Since 2013 AA added 595 new aircraft and retired 667. Each new generation of aircraft targets up to 15% improvements in fuel efficiency. Moreover, the company has invested more than $24 billion in modernizing its fleet. As of September 2021, American Airlines has the youngest mainline fleet among US network carriers, at an average age of 11.6 years. Based on gallons of fuel consumed per ASM, the company’s mainline fleet fuel efficiency improved by 11.5% from 2013 through 2020. With these efforts, it has created the youngest fleet among US network carriers. (Story and photos courtesy of American Airlines)
23) Maersk joins First Movers Coalition for carbon-neutral solutions
Roughly half of the emission reductions needed to reach the 2050 climate goals rely on technologies in early development, demonstration, or prototype phases. Accelerating innovation in this decade is critical to bringing these technologies to market and making them cost-competitive.
To jumpstart this effort, the World Economic Forum, in partnership with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, announced in November 2021 the First Movers Coalition—a new platform for companies to make purchasing commitments that create new market demand for low carbon technologies.
Alongside global brands such as Amazon and Apple, AP Moller-Maersk is a founding member of the coalition, signing up to a target that zero-emission fuels will power at least 5% of its marine shipping operations by 2030. The commitments aim to be collectively significant enough to commercialize de-carbonization technologies. This followed similar ambitions from leading global retailers, including Unilever, Ikea, and Inditex, which announced a target to progressively switch their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuels by 2040.
Considered one of this decade’s milestones, the First Movers Coalition will create a long-term impact by driving milestones this decade through investment into technological solutions across eight key sectors.
Seven of the chosen sectors—steel, cement, aluminum, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and trucking—account for more than one-third of global carbon emissions. However, these sectors do not have cost-competitive clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels. The other industry, direct air capture, could reduce atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels to help achieve net-zero global emissions and require technological innovation to reach commercial viability. (Story and photos courtesy of Maersk)
24) Hyundai presents vision to popularize hydrogen by 2040
Hyundai Motor Group announced in November last year its “Hydrogen Vision 2040” to popularize hydrogen by 2040 for “everyone, everything and everywhere” at the Hydrogen Wave global forum. During the conference, the group introduced new technologies and mobility solutions in transportation and other industrial sectors.
Hyundai sees the electrification of all new commercial vehicle (CV) models—featuring fuel cell electric or battery-electric powertrains and the application of fuel cell systems to all models by 2028.
The group’s central target to fully apply its CV lineup with fuel cells by 2028 will make it the first global automaker to realize such ambitions and help facilitate the transition to genuinely sustainable mobility.
“Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, workplaces, and factories. The goal is to make hydrogen readily used for everyone, everything, and everywhere,” said Chairman Chung at the global forum. “We want to offer practical solutions for the sustainable development of humanity, and with these breakthroughs, we aim to help foster a worldwide hydrogen society by 2040.”
According to the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative of leading energy, transport, industry, and investment companies, hydrogen energy will account for 18% of global energy demand by 2050, with a market size of $2.5 trillion. The popularization of hydrogen energy will also help cut CO2 emissions by more than 6 billion tons a year while creating over 30 million new jobs. (Story and photos courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group)
25) Etihad Airways reduces carbon emissions by 72%
In November 2021, Etihad Airways announced it had just operated its most sustainable flight ever. The achievement leverages the learnings and efficiencies developed over the last two years from its comprehensive sustainability program. The reduced carbon emissions (CO2) by 72% are in absolute terms compared to the equivalent flight operated in 2019. Using a combination of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and operational efficiencies, the sustainable flight reduced CO2 emissions by 39,000 kg and fuel burn by 1,800 kg.
The London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi flight is part of the Etihad Greenliner Program, a two-year partnership between Etihad and Boeing using Etihad’s Boeing 787 fleet as a testbed for sustainability improvements in collaboration with organizations across the industry. It required massive collaboration across the aviation ecosystem to deliver a sustainable in-flight product, coordination with airspace management for optimized flight routing, new technology flight deck tools, SAF, contrail reduction, and airport handling processes.
In an industry-first, EY20 was the first commercial flight to explore contrail-avoidance. Working with UK-based Satavia, the team identified potential areas of ice supersaturated regions in the atmosphere where harmful contrails are likely to form. The flight route was adjusted to avoid these areas. Based on the original and revised flight plan, the strategy avoided producing approximately 64 tons of CO2, with a fuel penalty of only 100kg, or 0.48 tons of CO2.
“These are noteworthy savings,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, COO of the Etihad Aviation Group. “When Etihad committed to achieving net-zero, it was acknowledged that it was only possible if the airline worked collaboratively and positively with our industry partners. That is what Etihad has done with Sustainable Flight. Of equal importance, Etihad, Boeing and its partners—airports, ANSP, and suppliers—used the flight to learn where further improvements could be made.”
The contributions covered three phases: Planning, in-flight and post-flight. It included preparing the aircraft, engines, and route planning systems to optimize take-off, en-route, and landing flight paths and trajectories, minimizing contrail formation, working with guests to reduce their luggage, and rewarding those that traveled light. Etihad provided catering that was appropriately sourced and served on sustainable crockery and with lightweight cutlery. Guests were also provided with environmentally friendly plant-based water bottles and limited-edition tote bags from upcycled aircraft materials. About 80% of all single-use plastics were eliminated. And once the aircraft arrived at Abu Dhabi, it was serviced by Etihad’s new fleet of EVs for ground logistics such as baggage unloading. (Story and photo courtesy of Etihad Airways)
26) Honda bolsters 2030 vision
In October 2021, Honda Motor Co Ltd announced its technology development direction, leading to the fulfillment of its 2030 vision of serving people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential.”
While solidifying its existing businesses as the company’s foundation, Honda is committed to contributing to the realization of a society with zero environmental impact and zero traffic collisions. In addition to research on advanced environmental and safety technologies, Honda R&D Co Ltd, which takes a lead role in Honda’s technology research and development, is pursuing outside-the-box research on technologies.
The eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) concept aircraft leverages Honda’s electrification technologies for its gas-turbine hybrid power unit. According to Honda, it will make mobility in the skies more accessible for people. Adoption of the hybrid power unit enables the extension of range, which will allow Honda eVTOL to provide inter-city (city-to-city) transportation, where the market size expects to grow in the future. Honda will create a new “mobility ecosystem” featuring Honda eVTOL at its core, connected with mobility products on the ground.
The Honda Avatar Robot will expand the range of human ability virtually without the constraints of time and place/space. Honda Avatar Robot will be equipped with a multi-fingered hand, an application of Honda robotics technologies, and Honda’s original AI-supported remote-control function. To put the Honda Avatar Robot into practical use in the 2030s, Honda is pursuing development intending to conduct technology demonstration testing before the end of March 2024.
Meanwhile, as international momentum for expanding the range of human activities outside the Earth continues to grow, Honda began initiatives to expand human activities and development on the lunar surface. Honda is conducting joint research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to build the circulative renewable energy system on the lunar surface by leveraging fuel cell technologies and high differential pressure water-electrolysis technologies Honda has amassed to date. (Story and photos courtesy of Honda Motor Co Ltd)
27) The Fering Pioneer, a lifesaving expedition
In October 2021 all-new British company Fering launched an adventure vehicle, a sustainable electrified pick-up the Fering Pioneer, designed to take on the toughest of terrains while treading lightly on the planet. The Fering Pioneer is the brainchild of ex Ferrari and McLaren engineer Ben Scott-Geddes, who has repurposed supercar and racing technology to provide environmental responsibility and unrivaled off-grid capabilities for the most extreme adventures. Series production is expected to be in full swing during the first half of 2022.
Scott-Geddes was previously the Director of Innovation, Body in White at Ferrari. He has a history of creating and developing pioneering new automotive technologies and vehicles. He was also the head of advanced concepts at McLaren and technical director of Caparo Advanced Composites, where he was responsible for the record-breaking T1. He worked under Gordon Murray building the McLaren F1, the F1 Le Mans winners in 1995, and subsequently the winning BMW V12 LMR in 1999.
Fering’s vehicle construction uses a body-on-frame approach, tried and tested throughout 4×4 history, and provides the most configurable body options on a standard platform. The vehicle frame is from a hybrid of aluminum and composite materials. A combination of welded, bonded and bolted joints maximize frame strength and stiffness while optimizing logistics for manufacturing partners and in-country vehicle fleet operators. The Fering Pioneer is all about being lightweight. Reducing vehicle mass is the most impactful way to minimize energy consumption, maximize acceleration and improve range. It also enhances payload and off-road performance by lowering the center of gravity and reducing ground pressure.
Despite its imposing appearance, the Pioneer is no more extensive in any direction than a typical delivery van and is shorter than a Ford Mondeo Estate. Using advanced materials and techniques from the circuit and supercar has allowed the Pioneer to rewrite the rules on strength and lightness. The dry curb weight is around 1,500kg—the same as a medium-sized hatchback, and achieved thanks to an aluminum spaceframe with composite elements, while the exterior panels are from tough fabric. This material, similar to the canvas found in high-end hiking boots, can shrug off damage, is easily replaced, and has better insulation properties than metal skins. Despite this, the Pioneer can carry its weight as a payload, with a 1,500kg capacity.
The Fering Pioneer features a modular high-voltage battery that is dismountable—for power distribution in a campsite or research station. Encasing each modular battery pack in a robust, ruggedized case will ensure maximum possible robustness and utility. Battery chemistry has been selected for durability, safety, and rugged operation. Lithium Titanium Oxide (LTO) batteries provide exceptional performance over a long life, do not degrade with repeated power cycling in the way other batteries do, and are inherently more stable—the perfect offering for the ultimate off-grid vehicle. Power to the axles is provided solely by two electric motors, providing instant torque, controllability, reliability, and 600Nm of maximum torque, more than a comparable diesel 4×4. Supporting the battery is an 800cc 3-cylinder range extender combustion engine powered by biodiesel for longer adventures. (Story and photos courtesy of Fering)
28) Volvo Cars to go leather-free in all-EV lineup
Volvo Cars took an ethical stand for animal welfare in its fully electric cars, as it announced October 2021 that, starting with the new C40 Recharge, all-new fully electric Volvo models would be completely leather-free. In the coming years, Volvo Cars will launch an entirely new family of pure electric cars. By 2030 it aims to offer only fully electric cars—all of them leather-free.
Likewise, Volvo Cars is working actively to find high-quality and sustainable sources for many materials currently used in the wider car industry. By 2025, the company aims for 25% of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content, as it looks to become a fully circular business by 2040. As part of its climate action plans, it also aims for all of its immediate suppliers, including material suppliers, to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The company’s move towards leather-free interiors stems from a concern about the negative environmental impacts of cattle farming, including deforestation. According to estimates, livestock is responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, with the majority coming from cattle farming. Volvo Cars will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality, sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources instead of leather interior options.
Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo Cars, will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry—setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models. Volvo Cars will also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly, as the company looks to ensure full traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.
Volvo Cars is also looking to reduce the use of residual products from livestock production commonly used within or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as part of the material or as a process chemical in the material’s production or treatment. The company takes this step because it believes that while going leather-free is a step in the right direction, doing so alone does not make a car interior vegan. By actively aiming to replace these materials as much as possible, Volvo Cars take a solid and ethical position to do what it can to help stop animal harm by contributing to reduced demand for these materials containing animal products. (Story and photos courtesy of Volvo Cars)
29) British Airways achieves record carbon emissions reduction
In October 2021, British Airways announced that the BA1476 flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow Airport became the airline’s first-ever passenger flight powered directly by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with the remaining emissions produced by the flight offset. The airline teamed up with Heathrow, NATS (air traffic service provider), fuel giant BP, Glasgow Airport, and Airbus to operate the short carbon-neutral flight. The historic flight took off from Heathrow and arrived in Glasgow on Sept. 14.
The short journey on the airline’s new special liveried sustainability aircraft painted in partnership with Airbus replicated a flight British Airways operated to Edinburgh in 2010. At the time, neither offsetting nor sustainable aviation fuel was available to reduce the flight’s impact on the environment. The journey was operated on an older aircraft carrying fewer passengers. The 2021 flight aimed to show how far the aviation industry has progressed in its efforts to decarbonize over the last decade.
The flight was operated by an Airbus A320neo, the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft in the British Airways fleet. Thanks to advances in engines, aerodynamics, cabin and flight operations, A320neos burn 20% less fuel, which means 20% less CO2. They are 50% quieter compared to its predecessor, which operated the flight in 2010. Since then, British Airways has made changes, including installing newer, lighter seats on the new aircraft and lighter catering trollies. It also replaced heavy flight manuals and inflight magazines with digital downloads, helping to reduce the plane’s weight, contributing to lower fuel use and lower emissions.
The flight was directly powered by SAF provided by BP, blended at 35% with traditional jet fuel under technical aviation specifications. The aircraft was pushed back using one of the airline’s electric Mototok vehicles, powered by Heathrow’s 100% renewable electricity supply. Taxiing to the runway used only one of the aircrafts’ engines, almost halving the power used to start its journey. The flight achieved a 62% CO2 emissions reduction compared with the 2010 flight—34% from more efficient aircraft and operations, 28% from the use of SAF, with the remaining 38% offset using high quality, verified carbon offsets.
Meanwhile, British Airways is on course to achieve its net-zero emissions by 2050 through a series of short, medium, and long-term initiatives. These include investment in new aircraft, the development of SAF and a hydrogen-powered airliner, and research into carbon capture technology. The airline launched its new BA Better World sustainability program, marking a further commitment to put sustainability at the heart of its business. Reducing emissions and waste and positively contributing to the communities serves to create an excellent place for people to work to build a resilient, responsible business. The airline also announced a collaboration with BP to source SAF for all flights between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh during the UK COP26 conference. British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group has committed to operating 10% of its flights using SAF by 2030. (Story and photos by British Airways)
Watch how British Airways turns its dream BA Better World into reality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8xDjV0siFs
30) Maersk invests in electrofuels startup company
Maersk Growth has made a leading venture investment in Prometheus Fuels, a Silicon Valley-based startup with a promising direct air capture technology to enable cost-efficient, carbon-neutral eFuels for shipping. The minority investment in Prometheus Fuels will support AP Moller-Maersk’s work to execute the strategy to decarbonize marine operations.
Maersk expects several fuels to exist alongside the future fuel mix and has identified four potential fuel pathways to de-carbonization: Biodiesel, alcohols, lignin-enhanced alcohols, and ammonia. The investment supports Maersk’s efforts with electrofuels which include alcohols produced from renewable energy. Along with biodiesel, alcohols, including green methanol, are feasible fuel technologies already today.
“Prometheus Fuels is developing a very exciting and innovative technology to produce carbon-based electrofuels from direct air capture of CO2. Electrofuels are expected to play a key role for the de-carbonization of shipping and, if scaled successfully, Prometheus Fuels’ technology will address a key constraint for carbon-based electrofuels—namely the cost competitiveness of direct air capture,” said Morten Bo Christiansen, Maersk Head of Decarbonization.
Maersk expects synthetic alcohols and other electrofuels to play a significant role in shipping de-carbonization due to its long-term scalability advantages compared to biobased fuels. Produced from renewable energy and water and ambient CO2 from direct air capture, it has the potential to offer infinite availability regardless of geographic scope.
Meanwhile, Maersk will introduce the first in a groundbreaking series of eight large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol in the first quarter of 2024. Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) will build these vessels and will have a nominal capacity of approximately 16,000 containers (Twenty-Foot Equivalent – TEU). The agreement with HHI includes an option for four additional vessels in 2025. The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tons. As an industry first, the vessels will offer Maersk customers truly carbon-neutral transportation at scale on the high seas. (Story and photos courtesy of Maersk)