Ohio Supreme Court upholds permit for North America’s first freshwater wind farm

Ohio Supreme Court upholds permit for North America’s first freshwater wind farm

The Supreme Court of Ohio has upheld a permit for the 20.7-MW Icebreaker wind farm, a demonstation project that is poised to be the first freshwater windfarm in the United States. In a 6-1 decision, the court rejected arguments the Ohio Power Siting Board in May 2020 improperly issued a siting permit for the proposed project in Lake Erie.  

The permit was challenged by two people who were concerned the Icebreaker project would lead to more wind farms on Lake Erie. With a third of the project under contract to the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, the decision clears the way for Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., the project developer, to market the rest of the project’s power, the public-private partnership said. 

Already there is an emerging U.S offshore wind sector along the East and West coasts, but the court ruling signals a possible opportunity for the Great Lakes. 

“The court’s decision preserves the economic potential this project can unlock for the region,” said Will Friedman, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority president and CEO. 

“Other states are nipping at our heels to attract offshore wind and its economic benefits. We don’t want to squander this opportunity and let 15 years of work slip away to other states eager to capture market share.”  

The project is said to be built on 4.2 acres which is nine miles from Cleveland. LEEDCo said the project has received approvals from agencies including the Ohio EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  

It also has a generator interconnection agreement with the PJM Interconnection to connect to the grid, according to the project developer 

Verra Mobility announces expanding operations

Verra Mobility announces expanding operations

Picture: Verra Mobility

Verra Mobility has announced that it is continuing to expand its European operations with new contract wins, partnerships and strategic memberships to further solve complex challenges for rental, fleet and issuing authorities operating within Europes evolving transportation infrastructure. 

As European tollways migrate to cashless collection and municipalities expand air quality initiatives, fleets and agencies are turning to Verra Mobility’s solutions to address toll interoperability, payments and vehicle violation compliance requirements. 

Recent European customer agreements, partnerships and memberships include:  

Road User Charges Violation Management Contract 

Verra Mobility was awarded a contract by the UK’s Department of Transport National Highways to recover unpaid road user charges and applicable penalties for the free-flow Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing, where the liable person resides outside the United Kingdom. Verra Mobility’s proven software technology has become increasingly popular in regions with significant cross-border travel to ensure fees are recovered from drivers of foreign-registered vehicles who utilize this vital road network in the UK.  

Clean Air Zone Violation Management Partnership 

Verra Mobility has entered a partnership with the Joint Air Quality Unit, in which it states that Verra Mobility will supply technical information for non-UK registered vehicles, enabling information for non-UK registered vehicles, enabling Clean Air Zone CAZ authorities to issue penalties for non-compliant vehicles entering from outside the UK. 

Association of Electronic Toll and Interoperable Services (AETIS) 

Verra Mobility was approved as a member of AETIS, a non-profit representing 18 EETS (European Electronic Toll Service) providers across the European Union. AETIS meets often to align on regulatory positions and advocate for the industry. Membership in AETIS supports Verra Mobility in its goal to contribute to a responsible and efficient framework for all electronic tolling in Europe. 

“These partner agreements are a critical next step as we expand our European footprint in tolling services and violation management,” said Tsjerk-Friso Roelfzema, general manager Europe, Verra Mobility.  

“Verra Mobility makes road travel in Europe more seamless and connected by providing toll solutions to our global rental car partners. We are also excited to further enhance our violation management solutions for clean air zone compliance and recovering unpaid road user charges.” 

The company’s software technology is said to be helping customers adapt and shift to cashless automated tolling while solving many other payment problems. 


Renault and Atos launch unique service, ID@Scale

Renault and Atos launch unique service, ID@Scale

Picture: Renault Group

Renault and Atos launch ID@Scale, a new service for industrial data collection to support manufacturing companies in their digital journey towards 4.0. “ID@S (Industrial Data @ Scale) claims to allow manufacturers to collect and structure data from industrial equipment at scale to improve operational standards and product quality.  

ID@Scale was developed by the car manufacturer and is already in operation within its factories. It is now said to be industrialised, modularised and commercialised by the digital leader Atos. 

The partnership development of ID@Scale was based on the wide amount of data that the production process made for manufacturers. The new service will allow manufacturers to collect data from a wide number of manufacturing facilities in a standardised and effective way, then contextualised and made available in the cloud. 

The company claims that easy access to standardised data accelerates the deployment of many kinds of use cases such as production, maintenance, quality, and energies, etc), including net zero benefits. An additional feature is that manufacturers can target energy consumption benefits.  

This comes as part of the company’s digital transformation strategy, Renault Group’s IT, digital and engineering teams have developed this data from its manufacturing facilities. This solution has been deployed on a large-scale across twenty-two plants with Renault Group. 

“Renault Group has developed a unique technology solution to collect large-scale manufacturing data to improved performance of our production tools and therefore the quality of our vehicles. Today, we are pleased to announce a new milestone.” said Jose-Vicente de los Mozos, EVP Group Industry, Renault Group 

He continued saying: “Through our collaboration with Atos, we will go one step further in commercializing our expertise as we support manufacturing sector organizations in the scale-up of their digital transformation. This marks a new step in Renault Group’s digital transformation and innovation capacity.” 

More than 7,500 pieces of equipment are connected, with standardised data models representing over 50 different manufacturing processes from screwdriving to aluminum injection. Renault Group has said that they are already saving 80 million Euros per year and aim to deploy this solution across the remainder of its 35 plants, connecting over 22,000 pieces of equipment, by 2023 to generate savings of 200 million euros per year.  

Atos is continuing to strengthen and industrialise Renault’s solution through its combined technology portfolio, services and consulting expertise.  

The ID@scale service benefits from Atos’ Edge to Cloud offering, enabling real-time analysis of large volumes of complex industrial data while securing it from the Edge to Cloud platforms, as well as optimizing the inference of the most complex artificial intelligence models thanks to its Bull Sequana Edge server range. 

“In a market with no equivalent solution, Atos modularizes and enhances Renault Group’s initial solution for all manufacturing sectors, on a worldwide basis. By joining forces, Atos and Renault Group are enabling organizations to effectively collect data from their plants to leverage information on a large-scale basis and successfully scale-up and accelerate their digital manufacturing transformation.” said Rakesh Khanna, Head of Digital, Atos. 

The service is said to continue to evolve, as it is suitable for all types of environments. Atos claims that whatever the industry sector, a solution is generated anywhere in the world. This marks a new step towards digitalisation for Renault Group and will be a key player in helping manufacturing companies. 

Siemen Commissioned for first Hydrogen-Powered trains

Siemen Commissioned for first Hydrogen-Powered trains

Picture: Siemens

Siemens has been commissioned by Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn to deliver the first hydrogen-powered trains for the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region as part of a green energy pilot project. The trains will be equipped with a fuel cell drive and lithium-ion battery. These second-generation hydrogen trains are said to ensure complete CO2 emission-free mobility. 

The new commission also includes a service and spare parts supply agreement for ten years until 2034. Siemens Mobility ensures the availability of the trains over the entire term of the contract. This means that the service should run smoothly and any issues that do arise will be sorted out quickly.  

The Mireo Plus H is a second-generation, state-of-the-art hydrogen train and features an H 2 traction system with high drive power of 1.7 MW for acceleration of up to 1.1 m/s² and a top speed of 160 km/h while offering refueling speed of 15 mins. 

The Mireo is designed to save energy and be environmentally friendly. The basis for this is the self-supporting, welded lightweight structure in aluminum integral construction. The improved aerodynamics, the energy efficiency of the components and the intelligent vehicle electrical system management also contribute to reducing resources and emissions. 

The two trains have been designed to have a spacious interior, with features including free WiFi, displays for dynamic real-time passenger information, a specially marked family area and two multi-purpose areas with enough space for prams, wheelchairs and up to twelve bicycles.  

Accessibility is no problem on this train as the railcars are equipped with three doors on each side which enables passengers that have wheelchairs or prams to easily get on and off the train with ease. 

“We are proud to operate the Heidekrautbahn, the first rail network in the Berlin-Brandenburg region that will be using hydrogen fuel cell trains,” said Detlef Bröcker, CEO Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB).

He continued to say: “With Siemens Mobility, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn has an experienced and reliable partner at its side. The highly innovative hydrogen-powered trains are not only environmentally friendly, but also provide modern equipment and features tailored to the needs of our passengers.”

The use of hydrogen vehicles on the Heidekrautbahn is part of a joint pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg . The aim is to set up a regional, sustainable hydrogen infrastructure, which also includes a hybrid power plant and a tank facility . 

 The entire train operation on the RB27 is to be carried out exclusively with green – regenerative and regionally generated – energy.  

The conversion from diesel to hydrogen on the Heidekrautbahn aims to reduce annual CO2 emissions by around three million kilograms and saves 1.1 million liters of diesel.The joint project was funded in May 2021 by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with around 25 million euros. 

VISION EQXX breaks its own efficiency record, driving from Stuttgart to Silverstone on one charge

VISION EQXX breaks its own efficiency record, driving from Stuttgart to Silverstone on one charge

Picture: Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX beats its own efficiency record by driving a 1,202km summer road trip on a single battery charge. The record-breaking journey started in Stuttgart and ended in Silverstone in the UK.  

The company negotiated an Autobahn closure, and demanded cross-country diversion near Stuttgart to complete the journey. The VISION EQXX then crossed the French border near Strasbourg, and continued onto Calais, where it boarded the Eurotunnel. 

Once it arrived in the UK, it continued onto the M25 around London, then it stopped off at Mercedes Benz Grand Prix in Brackley. It was greeted by Formula 1 and Formula E experts who helped develop its advanced drivetrain. 

Once it arrived at Silverstone, Mercedes-EQ Formula E driver Nyck de Vries, was there to take the test vehicle on a hard drive, reaching up to 140km/h, completing 11 laps, using the last of the cars charge on the pit lane.  

The VISION EQXX’s journey was a chance for Mercedes-Benz to showcase the effectiveness of their electric efficiency technologies, and they did not disappoint. The car has a thermal management system that can achieve an average consumption of 8.3kWh/100 km in heavy traffic and summer temperatures.  

“The journey continues-even further even more efficient! Yet again, the vision EQXX has proven that it can easily cover more than 1,000km on a single battery charge, this time faced with a whole different set of real-world conditions. As Mercedes-Benz strives to go all electric by 2030 wherever market conditions allow, it is important to show to the whole world what can be achieved in real terms through a combination of cutting-edge technology, teamwork and determination.” says Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Procurement.  

The VISION EQXX proves real-world capability across a range of conditions. The main challenges of this trip were said to be the summer temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius, paired with increased traffic density around Stuttgart and in the southeast of England. However, the cars innovative thermal management system carried it through.  

The Goodwood Festival of speed was next to see the VISION EQXX in action, as it joined the number of Mercedes icons of the past and future as it takes its turn on the famous hill climb.  

The VISION EQXX now has two incredible 1,000km+ road trips under its belt, and Mercedes believes that it has rightly earned its title as the most efficient Mercedes ever built. The work continues, however, as there will be developments of many VISION EQXX technologies in future series-production vehicles. 

CATL launches CTP 3.0 battery “Qilin”

CATL launches CTP 3.0 battery “Qilin”

Picture: CATL

CATL have launched the third generation of its CTP (cell-to-pack) technology, Qilin. It has record breaking volume utilisation efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg, it claims to achieve the highest integration level worldwide so far, capable of delivering a range of over 1,000km.

CATL continues to push the boundaries of innovations by focusing on the nature of electrochemistry. In 2019, CATL launched the world’s first module-less battery pack CTP, achieving a volume utilisation of over 50%. 

CATL continues to redefine its battery structure design with Qilin, which was named after a creature within Chinese mythology.  

The CTP 3.0 battery has many key features that we have not seen before. The internal crossbeam, liquid cooling plate and thermal pad have been integrated into a multifunctional elastic layer. It also features built in micron bridges inside the interlayer, which flexibly accommodate the changes inside the cell, improving the battery reliability throughout its full life cycle.  

Furthermore, powered by its computing and AI simulations, CATL are exploring the boundaries of battery design involving the battery’s full life cycle application. The ingenious bottom sharing design allows the smart arrangement of various components including structural protection, high-voltage connection and a protective vent for thermal runaway, further increasing the battery capacity by 6%. 

Another key feature is its disruptive water-cooling design. The large-surface cell cooling technology increases the heat transfer area by four times, cuts thermal control time in half, and supports a hot start in 5 minutes and fast charging in 10 minutes. It enables the cell to cool down rapidly in extreme circumstances, effectively preventing abnormal thermal conduction among cells. 

The CTP 3.0 batteries, or Qilin, are expected to be mass produced and come on the market in 2023. From simulated computing in the micro world to artful streamlining inside the battery structure, CATL says they are focused on technological ingenuity and independent innovation, aiming to promote the overtaking of fossil fuel vehicles with electric ones. 

First images of Candela’s P-12 Flying Ferry

First images of Candela’s P-12 Flying Ferry

Picture: Candela

Swedish technology company, Candela, is revealing the first images of its P-12 Shuttle flying electric ferry that is expected to begin production this year.  

The electric boat consumes considerably less energy than typical boats, due to the hydrofoils that lift it out of the water. The limited drag of the hydrofoils allows quicker speeds, helping the boat fly up to 30 knots (34 mph or 55Km/h), which makes it the fastest electric ship in the world according to Candela. Thanks to the hydrofoils, the ship uses 80 percent less energy than conventional ships. 

The technology has already been used in the company’s existing leisure boats and is now heading for commercial use.  

The P-12 Shuttle uses the equivalent of just 0.1 kWh of electricity per passenger kilometer. The vessel offers a range of 50 nautical miles at service speed from its 180-kWh battery and uses DC fast charging to recharge its battery in under one hour. For operators, this means up to 90 percent reduced fuel costs.  

The shuttle is said to be water-born at the end of 2022 and enter Stockholm city’s fleet of public transportation ferries early 2023 as a pilot on one of its main routes. The pilot will run at the end of the year, and this will allow for an evaluation of performance. 

Candela also claim that this will reduce operational costs by at least 40 percent due to its low maintenance needs and possibility to increase passenger volumes.  

Investment into more sustainable public transport is needed throughout cities, and this marks great progression towards more eco-friendly forms of water-transport.

Powering electric vehicles from trees

Powering electric vehicles from trees

As the mobility industry continues to push for full electrification, the need for long-term sustainable battery solutions becomes even more apparent. Although electric cars are cleaner and more sustainable on the road, we need to be thinking about what powers these vehicles and how suppliers will meet the demands that electrification brings. 

Lauri Lehtonen, SVP & Head of Innovation at Stora Enso, was at MOVE: Mobility Reimagined to discuss a new and unique solution to sustainable battery power. As of now, the anode of the battery material is 100% graphite, which can either be found in its natural form as a rock or is a synthetic biproduct of petroleum. While graphite is arguable a great anode, almost 100% of it is produced in China and therefore, a sustainable solution is needed closer to home. 

The aim is to replace the material within the anode with a more sustainable product. For example, some companies are testing to replace graphite with silicone. However, what Stora Enso is working on is replacing these materials with materials you can grow. 

“Right now, we have got to the point where conventional technologies aren’t good enough, and we probably don’t have enough of them. We need alternative solutions, especially now with the sustainability challenge that we have in place” said Lehtonen 

He continued to say, “I think we are at a tipping point where we need to look at solutions that are, what I like to call, ‘living above the ground’, things that you grow and are doing good things at the same time. We need to put these materials that nature has created for us to good use.”

Lauri explained that the fundamental behind this product is the tree, as while it photosynthesises, it is storing carbon and creating many more materials in the process. One area is of great interest, as it is particularly rich in carbon, is lignin. 

So how does this fit into the ever-growing battery industry we have already? Lithium is sought after in millions of tons, and it is very hard to extract, especially within Europe. The solution for this issue is yet undiscovered and if nothing changes, we will be too dependent on supply chains to meet the demand. 

Lauri said: “The door opener is supply chains that are next door, that have a material that actually grows back, this is not something that depletes, this is something that grows back every year.” 

He continues to say: “The second door opener is that this material does not run out, it grows back to an extent where our estimations are for the 40 million cars, the number of anodes you will need is only from 30% of trees” 

Of course, I assume that a lot of you are thinking, ‘why are we agreeing to cut down all these trees?’ To which I can assure you that the solution is fully dependent on the fact that they grow more trees than they use. 

“Everything we use is just a portion of the growth area, so this does not mean we are taking trees that will never grow back, we will only use a small portion of the growth.” Says Lauri 

The ecosystem of battery technology will need many different types of solutions, and as a community the mobility industry has a duty to bring forward more sustainable solutions to strive for a better change.