Canadian lithium-ion battery developer Li-Cycle and UK-based EV manufacturer Arrival have announced an agreement to work together to improve lithium-ion battery recycling and improving the efficiency of the EV battery supply chain in the US and Europe.
“Ensuring end-to-end sustainability for electric vehicles is something we are very passionate about at Arrival. This is why we are so thrilled to partner with Li-Cycle to drive sustainability in the EV industry through the advancement of EV lithium-ion battery recycling,” said Deepen Somaiya, Global VP of Sustainability for Arrival.
“Arrival is changing the fundamentals of the automotive industry with our new method for the design and production of EVs, and we see Li-Cycle’s cutting-edge, commercial lithium-ion recycling technology as an extension of that transformational approach. We look forward to working together to create sustainable, end-to-end solutions that will help us drive radical impact.”
By utilising Li-Cycle’s breakthrough, commercial lithium-ion battery recycling technologies, end-of-life batteries from Arrival’s EV fleets in the US and Europe can be transformed into battery grade material that could be used in the production of new batteries for new Arrival vehicles.
Li-Cycle’s technologies will facilitate Arrival’s ability to minimise the lifecycle impact of batteries, improving its recycling and resource recovery infrastructure. At the same time, Arrival will support Li-Cycle’s ability to advance its patented technologies in line with next generation battery technology, while also continuing to improve its resource recovery efficiency.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Arrival to drive technological innovation in battery recycling, while creating a closed-loop battery supply chain in the EV industry,” said Kunal Phalpher, Chief Strategy Officer of Li-Cycle. “This strategic commercial partnership demonstrates our ability to meet emerging new customer demands as we continue to scale our proven, commercial lithium-ion recycling technology, globally.”
Barcelona’s public transport operator TMB is exploring ways of running the city’s buses on sewage sludge-derived biomethane.
Biogas from the city’ wastewater treatment facilities is made up of methane and carbon dioxide and the aim is to remove the carbon dioxide leaving biomethane, which can be compressed to create fuel for the city’s buses.
Currently, just one bus is being tested, but there are plans to have 46 methane-fuelled buses on the streets by 2024.
The initiative is part of the EU funded Nimbus Project, set up to encourage a circular economy within public transport.
Although TMB has been converting its fleet to lower emission vehicles over the last decade, it’s still far off the EU’s commitment for over 30 percent of energy consumption for transport to be from renewable sources by 2030.
Biogas generated at the city’s water treatment works which is currently stored and used later to power the plant. From March, the carbon dioxide will be removed and the remaining biomethane compressed to make fuel for the Barcelona buses.
“This is about using bioproducts, which already exist in the atmosphere and giving them a new life,” said TMB depot supervisor Angel Olmo.
Toyota and Danish taxi service DRIVR have put more than 100 Toyota Mirai hydrogen taxis on the roads in Copenhagen.
The Danish government aims to have no new taxis emitting CO2 or air pollution from 2025, while all taxis must be zero-emission by 2030.
App-based taxi service DRIVR already allows customers to choose between hailing a ride in hybrid, electric, or hydrogen-powered cars.
“There is no doubt that the taxi industry is a key driver of the green transition. They are in constant operation and travel many kilometres, especially in the big cities every single day. The switch from black diesel to green hydrogen ensures the same operation and flexible mobility, just without harmful emissions,” says Tejs Laustsen Jensen, CEO Hydrogen Denmark.
“The many new taxis help create the necessary take-off of hydrogen at the service stations, which is essential for the development of the infrastructure. And then the taxis are rolling showcases for green hydrogen technology, which is an area where the strong Danish value chain of subcontractors is among the world’s best.”
DRIVR has also been chosen by the City of Copenhagen to act as the city’s “ad-hoc taxi service,” meaning that children with disabilities, mentally challenged citizens, citizens on their way to the hospital, municipal employees on duty and politicians will in future be transported completely emission-free in hydrogen cars when driving by taxi.
“We are incredibly proud that DRIVR has been entrusted with the important task of helping the municipality drive Copenhagen greener, and we are very grateful for the cooperation with Toyota, which has enabled us to fulfil the task of the many new Toyota Mirai hydrogen cars,” says Haydar Shaiwandi, DRIVR’s CEO.
The Toyota Mirai taxis seem to be garnering attention, as well. The company says that there is a “growing interest in hydrogen cars in the taxi industry.”
The taxi service has come as a result of the Hydrogen Mobility Europe 2 and Zero Emission Fleet vehicles For European Rollout projects, supported by The Hydrogen And Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking. The project aims to spread hydrogen solutions for transport across the EU and has contributed to both wagons and hydrogen refuelling stations in Denmark.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus are to launch a feasibility study on hyrdrogen-powered aircraft operations as part of a wider collaboration on sustainable aviation.
The feasibility study will run for two years, says the CAAS, and explore the concept of an airport hydrogen hub, as well as the infrastructure requirements for hydrogen-powered aircraft in the future.
“These include the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen, aircraft ground services, logistical equipment, and refuelling systems,” the authority states. “The study will examine how these requirements can be planned and provisioned for in airport development, whether upfront or in stages to provide optionality as the technology is developed.”
Calling the partnership an “important pathfinder” for a sustainable aviation sector, CAAS director-general Han Kok Juan said, “Decarbonisation is a key priority for international aviation. Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to rebuild an aviation sector that is more sustainable. It is not a question of whether but of how to make flying greener and developing concrete pathways to achieve that goal while ensuring that air travel is still accessible.”
Airbus chief technical officer Sabine Klauke added, “The decarbonisation of our industry requires a combination of approaches, hydrogen being one of them, and will need unprecedented cross-sector collaboration to create the new aviation infrastructure ecosystem.”
The world’s first all-electric, autonomous cargo ship launched in Norway this week. The Yara Birkeland made a short, crewed trip to the capital of Oslo as part of its unveiling, with work to now begin on certifying it as an autonomous container vessel ahead of commencing commercial operations.
As a joint venture between chemical production firm Yara and maritime technology company Kongsberg, the Yara Birkeland was announced back in 2017 as the world’s first all-electric and autonomous container ship.
The plan is to use the ship to ferry chemicals and fertiliser from Yara’s production plant in Prosgrunn to nearby towns, making significant reductions in NOx and CO2 emissions by negating the need for diesel-powered truck transport.
The 80m-long vessel is powered by a 6.8-mWh battery pack and can carry up to 3,200 tons at a maximum speed of 28 km/h.
Yara is looking at the potential to utilise stocks of ammonia used in its fertiliser production to develop a zero-carbon fuel source. “Renewable energy was our starting point in 1905, now, ammonia can bring us back to our roots,” says Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, CEO of Yara Clean Ammonia. “Our large shipping network and existing infrastructure means that ammonia has the potential to become the leading fuel for long-distance shipping globally,”
The Yara Birkeland’s maiden voyage saw it travel from the town of Horten to Oslo, a journey of around 70 km. The inaugural voyage was attended by government officials including Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
“We are proud to be able to showcase the world’s first fully electric and self-propelled container ship,” says Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara. “It will cut 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and replace 40,000 trips by diesel-powered trucks a year.”
With its first voyage behind it, the Yara Birkeland will commence commercial operations in 2022, while a two-year testing period will take place alongside designed to certify it as an autonomous vehicle. Technology company Kongsberg will be responsible for integrating the sensors and other systems for autonomous navigation, with the pathway to full autonomy to also include a phase of remote operation.
“Yara Birkeland will transport mineral fertiliser between Porsgrunn and Brevik and will contribute to significant emission cuts during transport,” says Holsether. “This is an excellent example of green transition in practice, and we hope this ship will be the start of a new type of emission-free container ships. There are a lot of places in the world with congested roads that will benefit from a high-tech solution like this.”
Some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers have failed to sign a pledge committing to make all new vehicles zero emissions by 2040.
Toyota, Volkswagen, Stellantis and Hyundai do not appear on the list of signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, unveiled at the COP26 climate talks last week.
The declaration was backed by over 100 signatories, including carmakers Volvo, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as 33 national governments, regional authorities and companies including rideshare service Uber.
The non-binding pledge commits its signatories to making electric vehicles the “new normal” and to “supporting a global, equitable and just transition so that no country or community is left behind”.
Environmental groups responding to the announcement warned that stronger action would be needed to cut transport emissions and keep global warming under 1.5C.
Environmental charity Greenpeace branded the declaration “disappointingly weak”. “What’s gravely concerning today is that major economies like the US, Germany, China, Japan and manufacturers like VW, Toyota and Hyundai could not even bring themselves to sign a declaration on electric vehicles that promises less than what’s actually required to maintain climate security,” said Greenpeace Germany’s executive director Martin Kaiser.
Swedish manufacturer Northvolt has announced it has produced its first lithium-ion battery cell using 100% recycled nickel, manganese and cobalt in which the recycling process can recover up to 95% of the metals in a battery to “a level of purity on par with fresh virgin material.”
“What we have shown here is a clear pathway to closing the loop on batteries and that there exists a sustainable, environmentally-preferable alternative to conventional mining in order to source raw materials for battery production,” said Northvolt chief environmental officer Emma Nehrenheim, who heads the company’s Revolt recycling programme.
A statement from Northvolt — which is part-owned by Volkswagen, BMW and Goldman Sachs — said the development “stands as a breakthrough for the battery industry and a milestone for Northvolt in its mission to establish a sustainable supply of batteries to support the decarbonisation of society”.
A new facility, named Revolt Ett — “Ett” meaning “One” in Swedish — will be the only large-scale plant in Europe capable of recycling lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, copper, aluminium and plastics.
“With construction beginning in early 2022 and operations from 2023, the recycling plant will receive incoming material for recycling from two sources: end-of-life batteries from electric vehicles and production scrap from Northvolt Ett,” the statement said.
“Recycled nickel, manganese and cobalt metals used in the battery cell are recovered from battery waste through a low-energy hydrometallurgical treatment, which involves the use of an aqueous solution to isolate the metals and separate them from impurities,” the statement continued.
It will also recover lithium, copper, aluminium, and plastics from the batteries and materials it recycles – all of which will be recirculated back into manufacturing through local third parties.
“As the electric vehicle revolution gains speed,” says Nehrenheim, “some 250,000 tons of batteries will reach their end-of-life in Europe by 2030.
“In this, some see challenges and obstacles. At Northvolt, we see opportunity. Similar to how we’ve found novel, sustainable solutions for the handling of salt by-product at Northvolt Ett – treating it as a valuable product and not waste – the same is true with end-of-life batteries. Ultimately, a commitment to circularity will not only significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the battery industry, but also contribute to our vision to set a new benchmark for sustainability in manufacturing.”
An 18-ton truck equipped with a 3.5kW photovoltaic system on its roof has been approved for use on Germany’s roads.
The solar power produced directly by the vehicle could meet 5 to 10 percent of its energy needs, says the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), which developed the solar modules and power electronics.
“With the successful commissioning of our high-voltage photovoltaic system, we have achieved our goal of demonstrating the feasibility of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics for heavy-duty e-commercial vehicles. The components integrated into the truck work as expected,” explains Christoph Kutter, project manager at Fraunhofer ISE.
The particularly lightweight and robust PV module prototypes developed by Fraunhofer ISE were built by Sunset Energietechnik. To create the first demonstrator vehicle, TBV Kühlfahrzeuge has integrated the modules into the box body of a Framo electric truck.
The roof-mounted solar modules are connected in series to ensure that current yields are high but the material and cabling costs are low, meaning the resulting voltages of up to 400 volts could pose a safety risk in the event of an accident. Key to gaining approval for use on public roads was the development of safe power management and a specially developed disconnection device.
The truck is now being put through its paces in daily use by electronics systems developer Alexander Bürkle operating in the Freiburg area. It will be tested for a year to validate the electricity yield forecasts and monitor the components under real conditions. Furthermore, the trial will help validate an energy forecast model “IVImon” developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, which manages the range, charging times and power generation for different routes depending on the consumption in the vehicle and the solar generation.
General Motors is making a prototype vehicle for the US military that is based on the 2022 Hummer EV, CNBC reports.
The “electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle,” or eLRV, will use modified versions of the Hummer EV’s frame, electric motors, and GM’s new Ultium battery pack.
GM said last year that it believes there’s a $25 billion market for creating new vehicles for the military, including EVs. A 2019 study from Brown University calculated that the US military is the largest institutional polluter in the world and produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 140 countries.
While GM sees great opportunity selling EVs to the military, Kathleen Hicks, the deputy secretary of the defence department told CNBC that she believes integrating electric vehicles in the military’s fleet will be “very challenging,” especially because of charging infrastructure. But, she added, “electrifying the non-tactical fleet, that’s a no-brainer.”
New analysis from European green think tank Transport & Environment (T&E) says carmakers are exploiting loopholes in EU clean car rules.
While many car manufacturers have already made their own commitments to end production of internal combustion engine vehicles, T&E says weak EU targets mean carmakers will not be required to deliver on their publicly stated EV production plans.
T&E points out that EU clean car rules have driven plug-in vehicle sales to almost one-fifth of the market and carmakers get easier targets if they sell heavier vehicles, driving up sales of high-emitting SUVs and plug-in hybrid, which – when not charged – can actually pollute more than fossil fuel engines.
T&E’s analysis finds that all major manufacturers on track to comply with EU CO2 targets for 2021, despite three companies, JLR, Volvo and Daimler, having higher tail-pipe emissions, on average, than five years ago.
T&E said that without setting more ambitious carmaker targets from 2025 onwards – including an intermediate goal in 2027 and an 80% car CO2 cut in 2030 compared to today – it will be very hard for member states to reach their proposed national climate goals by 2030.
Alex Keynes, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said, “Now is the time to set properly ambitious targets if we are to avoid a wasted decade in the race to decarbonise cars.”
Swedish automotive safety products manufacturer Autoliv and Stockholm-based global steel company SSAB, have announced a collaboration to research and develop fossil-free steel components for safety products, such as airbags and seatbelts.
A new process aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed to generate heat for ore-based steelmaking, with hydrogen.
The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with no carbon footprint. SSAB aims to start supplying the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale in 2026.
A pilot plant has already produced small volumes of iron using hydrogen.
Mikael Bratt, President and CEO of Autoliv, says, “We are committed to becoming carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030 and furthermore aim for net-zero emissions across our supply chain by 2040. This means reducing our carbon emissions through use of renewable electricity in our own and supplier operations, improving energy and materials efficiency and adopting low carbon logistics and low carbon materials. We are now turning our commitment into action and are well-positioned to continue supporting our customers and partners to reach their sustainability goals. Gradually switching to fossil-free steel in our products is an important step towards achieving our climate targets.”
Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, adds, “We are looking forward to working with Autoliv and to start the process of research and development of innovative fossil-free steel components for their automotive safety products. We are initiating a number of pilot projects together with Autoliv with the aim to reduce climate impact and strengthen competitiveness.”
US start-up Wright Electric has announced plans for a 100-seat fully-electric regional jet that could be in service from 2026. The electric aeroplane, named Wright Spirit, is an electric-powered version of the BAe 146 regional jet originally manufactured by BAE Systems.
The Wright Spirit is based on a conversion of the four-engine aircraft, creating a retrofit regional aircraft that is expected to have a flight time of one hour and a range of about 750 km.
Wright Electric early last year announced it had conceived a viable electric megawatt propulsion system, opening up the prospect of commercial fully-electric regional jets. Since then the company says it has tested key components of the system, including a high-power density inverter and a 2 MW motor.
Commenting on the current plans for the 100-seat regional electric aircraft, Wright CEO Jeff Engler said, “Because we built the world’s largest aerospace propulsive powertrain, we can build the world’s largest zero-emissions retrofit directly serving the world’s busiest routes.”
By concentrating on one-hour flights, the Wright Spirit could be suitable for some of the world’s busiest city connections such as Seoul – Jeju, London – Paris, Rio de Janeiro – São Paulo, San Francisco – Los Angeles. “We can make a significant impact on global emissions by targeting this high-demand segment of the market,” says Engler.
The company’s planned larger 186-seat commercial aircraft named Wright 1, which is a completely newly designed aircraft, is due to enter service in 2030 with an estimated range of 1,300 km.
UK startup ZipCharge has developed a suitcase sized power bank on wheels allowing EV drivers to top up their vehicles to get them to the next charge point.
The equivalent to a can of petrol in the boot of the car, the Go charger is the brainchild of ZipCharge founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier, both veterans of product development for the automotive industry, having worked for the likes of McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, the Gordon Murray Group and LEVC.
An aluminum spaceframe protects its major systems, and the outer shell for the production units will be made from post-consumer plastic waste. There’s a carry handle on one side and the charging ports and status LEDs on the other, and a telescoping handle up top. It rolls on two wheels for ease of transport.
Users can charge the Go’s 4-kWh NMC battery using a standard domestic plug, which should mean a lower cost per kWh than offered at a public charging station. When fully charged, the Go can be wheeled out any plug-in hybrid or EV with a Type 2 socket and cabled up to top up the car’s battery.
The powerbank, says ZipCharge, should provide an EV with about 30 km of range in 30-60 minutes and a larger system is in development. The Go can be stowed in the boot until needed, and is claimed to work in all normal weather conditions.
A bi-directional AC-DC inverter allows the power bank to store cheap off-peak energy from the grid, and feed it back to the grid during peak hours. There’s a comms module built in that supports smart charging, over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and features geo-fencing capabilities and tracking technology. It comes with 4G mobile connectivity that allows users to remotely manage the power bank via a companion app, while AI will learn a user’s charging habits over time and make scheduling recommendations to take advantage of off-peak electricity availability.
Currently in the final stages of development, ZipCharge is aiming to get the Go out to its first customers in late 2022. The Go will be available to buy or through a monthly subscription.
The portable charger, says ZipCharge, is the first component in a global portable EV charging platform that the company is intending to set up, which will include hardware, software, machine learning and novel ownership models.
Tesla has launched a pilot for its Supercharger Network access program at ten locations in the Netherlands. The programme enables non-Tesla drivers to access Tesla’s rapid speed Supercharger Network through the Tesla mobile app.
“With this pilot, we offer non-Tesla Dutch EV drivers the possibility to use our Superchargers. Our ambition has always been to open up the Supercharger network to encourage more drivers to make the switch to electric driving. This fits in seamlessly with our mission to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla wrote.
Tesla says making the network available to all will allow it to expand more rapidly. Initially the pilot will focus purely on the Netherlands. Tesla owners will be offered preferential rates, but non-Tesla drivers can reduce their charging fees through a subscription service.
UK supplier of alternative low-carbon fuels for HGVs CNG Fuels has announced plans to host hydrogen fuel trials across its national network of public access refuelling stations, in a bid to support the future decarbonisation of HGVs. The first trials are due to begin in mid-2022, with the company currently in discussions with international partners.
By 2025, says CNG Fuels, it plans to allocate 100 acres of its land to public access hydrogen refuelling. And a new branch, HyFuels, has been established to identify the best hydrogen production pathways and infrastructure solutions for HGVs, to support customers in adopting hydrogen quickly and easily once it becomes commercially viable.
HyFuels is already said to be in “advanced discussions” with major international providers of both hydrogen infrastructure and the fuel to deploy its first trials. Among the first initiatives will be a number of hydrogen-ready mobile refuelling units that are able to quickly deliver hydrogen to refuelling sites on demand.
According to the website Auto Futures, findings from the trials will be used to inform UK government, industry, and existing customers on the effectiveness of different hydrogen solutions and outline key infrastructure considerations for a hydrogen refuelling network.
CNG Fuels already supports major fleets with 100% renewable biomethane sourced from food waste and manure across its UK-wide network of public access refuelling stations. Major brands in the UK reported to be already on board include the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose, Hermes, Warburtons, and Royal Mail.
CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld notes that HGVs account for 5% of all UK emissions, “making their decarbonisation one of the single most important things the UK can do to meet our net zero ambitions”.
Renewable biomethane is and will continue to be the most effective decarbonisation solution for heavy transport for many years, he adds. “However, we have launched HyFuels to ensure we are ready to support our customers’ journey to a multi-fuel future as new technologies become commercially viable and the fuel readily available.”
CNG Fuels currently operates seven public access bio-CNG refuelling stations in the UK, and plans to open at least 12 more every year from 2022. The company plans to have 60 stations in operation by 2026, supporting the mass adoption of renewable biomethane fuel by fleets across the UK.
The US Air Force is reported to be studying the feasibility of a process developed by tech company Twelve which could enable the manufacture of a carbon-neutral aviation fuel using only carbon dioxide from the air, water, and renewable energy
The science website New Atlas notes that air forces are tethered to the supply lines that transport and store the fuel needed to keep their machines in the air, and that this is not only expensive and complicated when it comes to refuelling distant bases, it’s also dangerous because such supply lines are prime targets for enemy forces. According to the US Air Force, attacks on fuel and water convoys in Afghanistan accounted for 30 percent of coalition casualties.
As an alternative, the USAF is looking for ways to make its bases at least partly independent of outside fuel sources by means of a “deployable, scalable synthesis process that doesn’t need a large number of specialists to operate”.
The process developed by Twelve, referred to by the company as “industrial photosynthesis”, uses polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis – a sort of inverted fuel cell with a metal catalyst installed on a cathode – to break down carbon dioxide and water into their component ions, converting them into oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide.
These are then put through the Fischer-Tropsch process, a series of reactions developed in Germany in the 1920s which, in steps, turns them into methane and then increasingly complex organic molecules including polyethylene, ethanol, ethylene, polypropylene and, as of August 2021, jet fuel.
The pilot phase of the project is expected to be completed by December, states New Atlas. If the technology is practical for military applications, it adds, this will mean that the USAF “will potentially be able to produce synthetic fuel onsite without the need for coal, natural gas, or biofuel”. According to Twelve, it might even be possible to harvest not only the carbon dioxide from the air, but the water as well.
Volvo Group has revealed the first vehicle made of fossil-free steel produced by Swedish producer SSAB. The machine, a load carrier for use in mining and quarrying, was unveiled at a Volvo collaboration event in Gothenburg.
“Having the world’s first actual vehicle made using SSAB’s fossil-free steel is a true milestone,” says Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB. “Our collaboration with Volvo Group shows that green transition is possible and brings results,” he adds.
“Together, we will continue reducing climate impact all the way to the end customer while ensuring that our customers get high-quality steel. We look forward to continuing to work with Volvo Group in research and development to produce more fossil-free steel products.”
This initiative with SSAB sets the benchmark for a fossil-free future, Lindqvist asserts: “Just as the nations of the world come together at COP26 to address climate change, so too must organisations and industries work in collaboration to develop innovative new solutions for a greenhouse gas emission-free future.”
According to Lundstedt, his organisation is committed to pioneering partnerships such as this with SSAB, “to develop attractive, safe and efficient new vehicles and machines that pave the way for a more sustainable transport and infrastructure system adopted for the future”.
In 2026, SSAB plans to supply the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale, after a conversion of its Oxelösund blast furnaces into an electric arc furnace and by using HYBRIT technology.
This replaces the coking coal traditionally needed for iron ore-based steel-making with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.
This process is a first step towards the elimination of carbon dioxide-emissions in steel production In August 2021, SSAB presented the world´s first fossil-free steel plate, made from hydrogen-reduced iron produced at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden.
The HYBRIT initiative is a collaboration between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, and a key step toward a completely fossil-free value chain for steel-making.
ABB E-mobility, a provider of charging solutions for multiple types of electric vehicles, will supply the charging infrastructure for German aerospace Lilium’s seven-seat eVTOL Lilium Jet, the companies have announced jointly.
Lilium’s regional air network will be made up of a series of vertiports, featuring multiple parking bays and high-power ABB charging points.
Lilium aims to launch regional air mobility networks in Florida, Germany, and Brazil starting in 2024. Although the commercial terms of the agreement between the companies has yet to be finalised, ABB intends to develop, test, and provide a MegaWatt Charging System (MCS) that will fully charge the Lilium Jet’s batteries in approximately 30 minutes, and up to 80% in just 15 minutes.
According to Lilium, this will enable an estimated 20 to 25 flights per aircraft per day across its global vertiport network. Although the initial range of the production Lilium Jet is expected to be 155 miles (250 kilometers) at a cruise speed of 175 mph (280 km/h), Lilium has said it expects its trips to average between 60 and 75 miles (95 and 120 km) in length.
The MCS will allow direct current charging of up to 1,000 kW and can also be used for electric trucks and buses. ABB and Lilium said they plan to adhere to the relevant standards that support interoperability, following the lead of CharIN’s MCS Task Force, which was established in 2018 to work out the requirements for a new commercial vehicle high-power charging solution.
“We see this planned partnership as an important commitment to all relevant charging standards that are adopted by multiple electric ‘vehicle’ manufacturers,” states Frank Muehlon, president of ABB’s E-mobility division. By supporting the new MegaWatt charging standard, he adds, “ABB E-mobility is paving the way for the electrification of all modes of transport, from cars and trucks to marine vessels, mining vehicles, and now, aviation”.
“Making sure we have the right charging infrastructure will play a crucial role in enabling our high-speed regional air network by allowing quick and efficient charging,” says Lilium CEO and co-founder Daniel Wiegand. “We are proud to be working with ABB, who bring decades of experience in electrification and software, to set the charging industry standard for electric aviation,” he adds.
The potential of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology to balance the national electricity grid at scale is to be investigated in a UK trial by V2G consortium Powerloop in which EV drivers will participate in electricity system operator National Grid’s Balancing Mechanism marketplace, designed to solve multiple grid issues in real time.
To facilitate the trial, National Grid has not applied the usual thresholds for participation. The initiative is one of the first times a smaller, non-traditional energy resource has participated in this market, and Powerloop is the first V2G trial to do so.
The aim of the project is to see if the system facilitates easy participation of energy resources many orders of magnitude smaller than current players.
First launched in 2018, Powerloop is a V2G consortium project run by Octopus Electric Vehicles and its parent Octopus Energy in partnership with UK Power Networks (UKPN), Energy Saving Trust, Open Energi, CPS, and Guidehouse.
Octopus calculates that 10 million EVs discharging at the same time could match the UK’s peak daily electricity demand. There are currently just over 30 million cars on the road in the UK.
Powerloop is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), with Innovate UK acting as delivery partner.
The project, taking place in South East England, the operating area of distribution network operator UKPN, allows Nissan LEAF drivers in combination with the Wallbox Quasar V2G charger to export their car’s battery power back to the grid, gathering real world data to help show how V2G can contribute to the UK’s energy network.
Powerloop supports owners of electric vehicle with bi-directional charging technology to be both the generator and the consumer of energy. The car’s battery becomes a mobile energy asset that can transfer energy back to the grid during times of peak demand. And if EV owners do it enough times every month, they even make money back for it.
Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, says, “To reach our Net Zero targets we need a smart energy system – where we store energy when the wind blows and sun shines, to use it when we want. The rise of electric cars not just cleans up our roads, but also provides a huge amount of battery storage .
“Vehicle-to-Grid tech allows us to store the green energy in our cars for when we need it most – and the Octopus Powerloop trial is a market leading demonstration of doing this with real drivers using cars on their driveways to power the grid.
“It is hugely exciting that we are forging that path here in the UK – setting the bar for a globally smarter energy system.”
Isabelle Haigh, Head of National Control for National Grid adds, “Electric vehicles are playing a key role in helping the transport and power sectors decarbonise, with EV smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology set to bring significant flexibility to the grid as Britain transitions to net zero.
“Our Future Energy Scenarios forecasts up to 45% of households engaging with V2G services by 2050, potentially unlocking significant additional capacity on consumers’ driveways.
“We’re excited to be a part of a project that is blazing a trail for EVs to fulfil this potential and actively participate in the Balancing Mechanism. Powerloop is a great opportunity to understand how small-scale flexibility opportunities can help us balance the grid, and is another example of the benefits of widening participation to new players in the market.”
South Korean car parts maker Hyundai Mobis is to invest $1.1 billion in the construction of two hydrogen fuel cell system plants in South Korea. In 2018, the company became the world’s first to set up a complete hydrogen fuel cell production system in Chungju.
The new plants in Incheon, west of Seoul and Ulsan will begin mass production in the second half of 2023 and be capable of producing 100,000 hydrogen fuel cells a year, the company said. The existing Chungju facility has a capacity of 23,000 cells, so the investment represents a significant ramping up in production.
Reflecting its national significance, Korean President Moon Jae-in and Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the Industrial Complex in Cheongna International City, Incheon.
Hyundai Mobis already claims to be the world’s largest EV fuel cell producer and with the new hydrogen fuel cell factories the company is targeting new sectors including construction machinery and logistics.
Sung Hwan Cho, President and CEO of Hyundai Mobis, said, “Despite uncertainties including COVID-19, we have decided to make this large-scale investment to secure the market-leading competitiveness in the global fuel cell industry. We will continue to invest more in facilities and strengthen our R&D capability for the development of the hydrogen industry and expand the ecosystem.”