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The in-depth study, which analyses hydrogen’s current state of play and offers guidance on its future development, is being launched by Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, alongside Mr Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on the occasion of the meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan.

Hydrogen can help to tackle various critical energy challenges, including helping to store the variable output from renewables like solar PV and wind to better match demand. It offers ways to decarbonise a range of sectors (including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel) where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions. It can also help to improve air quality and strengthen energy security.

A wide variety of fuels are able to produce hydrogen, including renewables, nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil. Hydrogen can be transported as a gas by pipelines or in liquid form by ships, much like liquefied natural gas (LNG). It can also be transformed into electricity and methane to power homes and feed industry, and into fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.

To build on this momentum, the IEA report offers seven key recommendations to help governments, companies and other stakeholders to scale up hydrogen projects around the world. These include four areas:

  • Making industrial ports the nerve centres for scaling up the use of clean hydrogen;
  • Building on existing infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines;
  • Expanding the use of hydrogen in transport by using it to power cars, trucks and buses that run on key routes;
  • Launching the hydrogen trade’s first international shipping routes.

 

The report notes that hydrogen still faces significant challenges. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is costly at the moment, the development of hydrogen infrastructure is slow and holding back widespread adoption, and some regulations currently limit the development of a clean hydrogen industry.

Today, hydrogen is already being used on an industrial scale, but it is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal. Its production, mainly for the chemicals and refining industries, is responsible for 830 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

Reducing emissions from existing hydrogen production is a challenge but also represents an opportunity to increase the scale of clean hydrogen worldwide. One approach is to capture and store or utilise the CO2 from hydrogen production from fossil fuels. There are currently several industrial facilities around the world that use this process, and more are in the pipeline, but a much greater number is required to make a significant impact.

Another approach is for industries to secure greater supplies of hydrogen from clean electricity. In the past two decades, more than 200 projects have started operation to convert electricity and water into hydrogen to reduce emissions.

Expanding the use of clean hydrogen in other sectors – such as cars, trucks, steel and heating buildings – is another important challenge. There are currently around 11,200 hydrogen-powered cars on the road worldwide. Existing government targets call for that number to increase dramatically to 2.5M by 2030.

Policy makers need to make sure market conditions are well adapted for reaching such ambitious goals. The recent successes of solar PV, wind, batteries and electric vehicles have shown that policy and technology innovation have the power to build global clean energy industries.

Deep declines in wind, solar and battery technology costs will result in a grid nearly half-powered by the two fast-growing renewable energy sources by 2050, according to the latest projections from BloombergNEF (BNEF). In its New Energy Outlook 2019 (NEO), BNEF sees these technologies ensuring that – at least until 2030 – the power sector contributes its share toward keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 ºC.

Each year, NEO compares the costs of competing energy technologies through a levelized cost of energy analysis. This year, the report finds that, in approximately two-thirds of the world, wind or solar now represent the least expensive option for adding new power-generating capacity.

Electricity demand is set to increase 62%, resulting in global generating capacity almost tripling between 2018 and 2050. This will attract $13.3 trillion in new investment, of which wind will take $5.3 trillion and solar $4.2 trillion. In addition to the spending on new generating plants, $840 billion will go to batteries and $11.4 trillion to grid expansion.

NEO starts by analyzing technology trends and fuel prices. The results show coal’s role in the global power mix falling from 37% today to 12% by 2050 while oil as a power-generating source is virtually eliminated. Wind and solar grow from 7% of generation today to 48% by 2050. The contributions of hydro, natural gas, and nuclear remain roughly level on a percentage basis.

BNEF’s power system analysis reinforces a key message from previous New Energy Outlooks – that solar photovoltaic modules, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries are set to continue on aggressive cost reduction curves, of 28%, 14% and 18% respectively for every doubling in global installed capacity. By 2030, the energy generated or stored and dispatched by these three technologies will undercut electricity generated by existing coal and gas plants almost everywhere.

The projected growth of renewables through 2030 indicates that many nations can follow a path for the next decade and a half that is compatible with keeping the increase in world temperatures to 2 degrees or less. And they can do this without introducing additional direct subsidies for existing technologies such as solar and wind.

The days when direct supports such as feed-in tariffs are needed are coming to an end. Still, to achieve this level of transition and de-carbonization, other policy changes will be required – namely, the reforming of power markets to ensure wind, solar, and batteries are remunerated properly for their contributions to the grid. NEO is fundamentally policy-agnostic, but it does assume that markets operate rationally and fairly to allow lowest-cost providers to win.

Europe will decarbonize its grid the fastest with 92% of its electricity supplied by renewables in 2050. Major Western European economies in particular are already on a trajectory to significantly decarbonize thanks to carbon pricing and strong policy support. The U.S., with its abundance of low-priced natural gas, and China, with its modern fleet of coal-fired plants, follow at a slower pace.

China sees its power sector emissions peaking in 2026, and then falling by more than half in the next 20 years. Asia’s electricity demand will more than double to 2050. At $5.8 trillion, the whole Asia Pacific region will account for almost half of all new capital spent globally to meet that rising demand. China and India together are a $4.3 trillion investment opportunity. The U.S. will see $1.1 trillion invested in new power capacity, with renewables more than doubling its generation share, to 43% in 2050.

The outlook for global emissions and keeping temperature increases to 2 degrees or less is mixed, according to this year’s NEO. On the one hand, the build-out of solar, wind and batteries will put the world on a path that is compatible with these objectives at least until 2030. On the other hand, a lot more will need to be done beyond that date to keep the world on that 2 degree path.

One reason is that wind and solar will be capable of reaching 80% of the electricity generation mix in a number of countries by mid-century, with the help of batteries, but going beyond that will be difficult and will require other technologies to play a part – with nuclear, biogas-to-power, green hydrogen-to-power and carbon capture and storage among the contenders.

BNEF’s analysis suggests that governments need to do two separate things – one is to ensure their markets are friendly to the expansion of low-cost wind, solar and batteries; and the other is to back research and early deployment of these other technologies so that they can be harnessed at scale from the 2030s onwards.

In NEO 2019, BNEF for the first time considers 100% electrification of road transport and the heating of residential buildings, leading to a significant expansion of power generation’s role.

Under such this projection, overall electricity demand would grow by a quarter compared to a future in which road transport and residential heat only electrify as far as assumed in the main NEO scenario. Total generation capacity in 2050 would have to be three times the size of what is installed today. Overall, electrifying heat and transport would lower economy-wide emissions, saving 126GtCO2 between 2018 and 2050.

Source: BloombergNEF (BNEF)

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Atos has announced that it has offset 100% of its 2018 CO2 emissions worldwide, through a dedicated wind farm program. In addition to offsetting emissions from its data centers, which it has done since 2014, Atos now ensures that this program also includes the offsetting of carbon emissions produced by its offices and business travel. This initiative is part of Atos’ global environmental program supporting Advance 2021 strategic plan.

As part of the world effort to tackle climate change, Atos is working to continuously reduce its environmental footprint through the implementation of its environmental program with multiple initiatives, including modernizing its data centers, increasing the use of renewable energies, reducing its carbon footprint and improving its overall energy efficiency.

To offset its CO2 emissions from all its activities, Atos has invested in three wind farms located in India. The project, which was started in 2010 across three states in India (Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra), promotes the use of renewable energy and has led to the installation of a total of 137 wind turbines generators.

Every year, the three wind farms with an output 109.6 MW, produce power approximately 40,000 households in rural areas. They improve the production capacity of the local industries and businesses and contribute to the development of the local economy – providing new jobs – and to education and healthcare initiatives.

Atos is supporting businesses in their journeys towards more sustainable operations. Going forward, Atos’ clients can report “ZERO” in their own carbon reporting for the solutions they host in Atos datacenters.

Since 2008, Atos has rolled-out a major environmental program that encompasses the modernization of our datacenters and the reduction of their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), the increasing use of decarbonized electricity and a global offsetting program. Within our Advance 2021 strategic plan, we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions by revenue up to 20% (2016 baseline) in order to help tackle climate change. We are therefore proud to be now delivering fully compensated hosting services to our clients.” says Philippe Mareine, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Atos.

So that this project conforms to the VCS standard, Atos has chosen to work with EcoAct.

As a leading carbon neutrality advisory company, EcoAct is very proud to support Atos in the implementation of its carbon neutrality strategy – especially as they expanded the scope of their carbon offsetting in 2018 to their offices and business travel worldwide, in addition to their datacenter emissions” says Arnaud Doré, Executive Director at EcoAct France.

Over the long-term, Atos’ carbon reduction targets have been approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as in line with the global effort to limit the rise of climate change below 2°C.

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The Spanish Bioenergy Association (Avebiom) and the Fundación Circe are participating in the European AgroBioHeat project, which seeks to extend the use of agro-biomass (straw, agricultural prunings, olive pits, almond shells, energy crops, etc.) heating in the European Union.

Avebiom and Circe are addressing the challenge with a view to changing the current model, in which agro-biomass is very underused despite being a resource of great potential. The AgroBioHeat project seeks to promote initiatives in which biomass installers, boiler manufacturers, agro-industries, associations, municipal councils and other institutions can become involved. For this purpose, Avebiom and Circe will identify, accompany and advise companies and entities in the undertaking of two specific projects in Spain.

Identifying initiatives

“Avebiom has the responsibility of identifying initiatives of interest in Spain and trying to ensure that they are successful in order to promote the use of agro-biomass”, points out the association’s project leader, Pablo Rodero. “We will accompany these initiatives until the end of the project and help them to overcome barriers and solve any technical issues or doubts that might emerge”, he added.

Daniel García, a researcher at the Fundación Circe, explains that AgroBioHeat has multiple lines of action. “It is necessary to promote the technologies capable of using agro-biomass with guarantees at trade fairs and other events. We have to put potential developers into contact with facilities that are already up and running and we have to convince the general public that this biomass is as eco-friendly and can be used as safely as forest biomass”, he points out.

Both Rodero and García highlight the fact that the project seeks to address an imminent threat that could limit the use of biomass. They point out that the current Eco-design Regulation, which comes into force in January 2020, imposes very stringent limits on emissions from wood pellet and wood chip boilers of less than 500 kW. And it is expected that a review of the Eco-design Regulation in 2021 will extend these emission limits to other types of biomass.

Avebiom and Circe will undertake a process to select the technologies and facilities to be used for testing and measurement purposes, as well as the new agro-biomass initiatives they wish to promote.

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A new report on the global market potential of biogas will be launched by the World Biogas Association (WBA) at the inaugural World Biogas Summit 2019 in July.

The report will set out the potential for growth in biogas markets in different regions across the world and on a global scale, and will build on a series of existing WBA reports, some focused on biogas markets in particular countries and others on the contribution that biogas can make to meeting specific policy goals such as the United Nations’ (UNs’) Sustainable Development Goals, improving urban air quality, mitigating climate change, and tackling food waste.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas technologies convert organic wastes and purpose-grown crops into renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and nutrient-rich natural fertiliser.

WBA President David Newman said:

“If rolled out on a large scale, biogas technologies can reduce global emissions by a staggering 20% – a huge contribution to tackling the urgent challenge of climate change. There is enormous growth potential for these technologies right around the world, particularly in countries with poor existing facilities for managing wastes such as inedible food, sewage, and manures.

“This exciting new report will be the first to offer a global overview of the growth potential for biogas markets, as well as focusing on specific regions. We want this to be the go-to guide for investors, governments, and policymakers looking to reap the many economic and environmental benefits of biogas around the world.”

The report will be launched at the inaugural World Biogas Summit 2019, the largest ever dedicated global biogas conference, taking place on 3rd-4th July at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. The summit is being co-organised by WBA and the UK Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) and will be co-located with UK AD & World Biogas Expo 2019, the world’s largest tradeshow dedicated solely to AD and biogas.

Commenting on the development of plans for the Summit and Expo, Mr Newman said:

“Together with ADBA, we’ve been investing both time and money into these flagship events to make them the largest and most international to date. This has included appointing a dedicated events management company to grow the events and creating the World Biogas Summit, a major new international thought-leadership forum that will run alongside the Expo and put anaerobic digestion and biogas at the very heart of global sustainable development, where it needs to be.”

ADBA will be celebrating its tenth anniversary at the events and reflecting on the progress of the UK AD industry over the past decade. One of the key topics for the Summit and Expo will be food waste recycling, following the announcement at the ADBA National Conference 2018 this week by a government minister that the universal food waste collections will be included in the UK’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy.

ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said:

“We’re hugely excited about both the Summit and the Expo, which will offer those working in the UK AD industry the perfect opportunity to network with and learn from others from around the world to discover the latest products, services, and expertise that can help to drive the growth of AD in the UK.”

The WBA will also host a reception at the House of Commons in London on 18th February bringing together WBA members, ambassadors, and trade officials to attract global interest in the benefits of AD and biogas worldwide and discuss how these technologies can support countries around the world in reducing their emissions quickly and deeply. International delegations will then be able to explore these benefits further at UK AD & World Biogas Expo 2019.

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Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high in 2018 – according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project. The new data for 2018 reveals that global emissions from burning fossil fuels are expected to reach 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018. CO2 emissions have now risen for a second year, after three years of little-to-no growth from 2014 to 2016. The rise this year is projected at 2.7%. In 2017 it was 1.6%.

The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, the US, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a whole region of countries ranks third.

What is driving the rise?

This year’s rising emission figures are largely due to solid growth in coal use, but coal still remains below its historical high in 2013. Coal use may soon exceed this 2013 peak if current growth continues.

Oil use is growing strongly in most regions, with a rise in emissions from cars and lorries, including in the US and Europe. Flights have also contributed to the oil rise. Gas use has grown almost unabated in recent years.

CO2 emissions from deforestation and other human activities on land contributed an additional 5 billion tonnes of CO2 this year, bringing total CO2 emissions to 41.5 billion tonnes of CO2. The global trends in those emissions are unclear due to large uncertainties in the data.

Concentrations CO2 in the atmosphere are set to increase by around 2.3 ppm on average in 2018 in response to continued CO2 emissions, to reach about 407 ppm over the year. This is 45% above pre-industrial levels.

The good news

Countering rising global emissions are 19 countries where emissions have reduced and their economy has grown. Aruba, Barbados, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, the US, and Uzbekistan have all decreased their emissions over the past decade (2008-2017).

Deployment of renewable energy worldwide is accelerating exponentially, with electricity generation growing at 15% per year on average over the last decade. But this has not been enough to offset the growth in fossil energy because renewables are growing from a low base. This is changing rapidly.

How different countries compare

Almost all countries have contributed to the rise in global emissions, either through growth in emissions or through reductions that are slower than expected.

China’s emissions account for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high. The growth in emissions is linked to construction activity and economic growth. Energy from renewables is growing by 25% per year, but from a low base.

Emissions in the US account for 15% of the global total, and look set to have grown about 2.5% in 2018 after several years in decline. The new rise is due to robust growth in oil use of about 1.4%, associated with an increase in car journeys, and gas of about 7.6%. Emissions from coal use look set to have decreased by around –2.1% in 2018, continuing a shift away from coal, with a 40% decrease in CO2 emissions from coal since 2007, mainly towards gas, and more recently also towards renewables for power generation.

EU emissions account for 10% of global emissions and a small decline of around –0.7% is projected, well below the declines of −2% per year in the decade up to 2014. Estimated declines in coal and gas use due to the growth in renewable energy have been partially offset by a growth in oil use. The amount of fuel used for road transport and flights has surged by around 4% in the EU. Overall EU emissions are still near or above their 2014 levels.

India’s emissions, accounting for 7% of the global total, have continued to grow by around 6.3%, as their economy booms. Wind and solar are growing fast, albeit from a low base.

Emissions in the rest of the world, the remaining 42% of global emissions, are expected to grow about 1.8% this year. The five countries contributing most to the rest-of-the-world growth in global emissions in the last decade are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and South Korea.

Source: Global Carbon Project & University of East Anglia

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For another year, Acciona has revalidated its position as the “greenest” electric power generation company in the world. It has held this position since 2015 in the “New Energy Top 100 Green Utilities” ranking of Energy Intelligence, an independent consultancy that specialises in energy markets.

The ranking, which has just been published in its seventh edition, selects a hundred of the best electricity generation companies in the world and classifies them based on their CO2 emissions and installed capacity in renewable technologies (excluding hydroelectric) to determine their level of involvement in the transition to a low-carbon electric power system.

Acciona continues to be the main pure player in renewables and stands in first place in the world ranking of the US-based firm. In its report, Energy Intelligence highlights the growing role that specialised renewables companies such as Acciona play in achieving an ever cleaner energy system worldwide.

The 100 companies that make up the ranking total 3,370 gigawatts (GW) and account for around 50% of electricity generation capacity in the world. European companies figure prominently in the Top 10, with five companies, together with three from China and two from the USA. After Acciona, the greenest utilities are China General Nuclear, Iberdrola (ES), E.On (AL), NextEra Energy (US), Invenergy (US), EDP (Portugal), China Energy Investment, Orsted (DK) y State Power Investment (Ch).

An analysis of the Top 100 Green Utilities of Energy Intelligence reveals, among other things, that the companies listed had CO2 emissions below 500 kg/MWh last year (precisely 495 kg/MWh, as opposed to 565 kg/MWh in 2011).

It also highlights that, in the seven years of the study, non-hydro renewables have almost tripled in the ranking, up to 299 GW (116 GW in 2011). In this respect, Energy Intelligence emphasizes the role played by European electricity companies that have undergone greater transformations in their generation assets, adding a total of 35 GW in wind and solar in that period and divested in fossil assets to the extent of 90 GW.

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E.ON, DeltaPort and the aluminium producer TRIMET have presented the “EcoPort 813” project. The partners are planning to convert heat from the production of aluminium into a resource-saving energy source in order to supply logistics properties at the Rhine port of Voerde-Emmelsum. The low-cost and CO2-neutral energy in the form of heat or cold is intended to create incentives for the settlement of further companies.

In addition, the partners want to make the logistics chain for food climate-friendly. Usually, temperature-controlled containers that land in the seaport by sea-going ship are unloaded in refrigeration centres and then transported on the road to the hinterland.

“EcoPort 813” aims to optimize this supply chain ecologically. In the future, refrigerated containers will be transported to the hinterland by inland waterway or rail. The containers can be unloaded at a temperature-controlled distribution centre in the port of Emmelsum, from where they can be distributed by truck. The truck will thus only be used on the last mile.

E.ON will contribute the hub of the project: an energy centre with heat recovery. The excess heat from TRIMET’s aluminium production is recycled here. Converted into cold, it can be made available to cooling logistics companies, but also in the form of heat for the manufacturing industry. The companies receive cold or heat at uniquely low energy costs without polluting the climate with CO2. The plant generates up to 136 GWh of usable heat per year. More than 27,000 t of CO2 can be saved. At the beginning of the year, E.ON initiated a similar project in the port of Dortmund.

A typical mid-size electric vehicle (EV) can generate up to 67% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than a gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE) car on a well-to-wheel basis. However, the crucial factor is the location in which they are driven, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest research on mobility transition.

The analysis is focused on well-to-wheel assessment. This involves a number of factors – how the fuel is produced in refineries, where the crude oil is sourced from, mileage of the car, how the electricity is produced, and the energy use associated with vehicle and battery manufacturing and charging. These factors differ from country to country.

Comparing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from an EV and an ICE car is not straightforward. It’s worth noting that, even though EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, they are not GHG emissions-free when evaluated on a well-to-wheel basis. When using Wood Mackenzie’s integrated model, based on the existing electricity generation mix in developing economies such as China and India, an EV can only displace up to half the GHG emissions of an ICE gasoline car.

The demand for road transport is growing rapidly with urbanisation – and EVs are starting to challenge the supremacy of ICE cars by addressing air quality concerns. However, when there is a high share of coal or other fossil fuels in the power mix, typical in APAC countries, the competitiveness of EVs versus ICE cars decreases. To overcome this issue, governments in developing countries – such as China and India – could look at electrifying the current ICE car taxi fleet. In doing so, this would help achieve emissions abatement faster than incentivising and promoting the use of privately owned EVs because of their greater utilisation in terms of miles travelled.

The most crucial factor in sustaining the current advantage for EVs is decarbonisation of the power sector. As gasoline ICE vehicles become more fuel efficient, the power mix must comprise more renewables for EVs to remain GHG competitive. Currently, the power sectors in the UK and US are 30% less emissions intensive than markets in Asia.

For climate change enthusiasts and regulators, electrification of transport is a useful remedy to tackle air pollutants and GHG emissions, and fulfil NDC pledges as a result. The focus again shifts to the power sector. However, the findings in this report reflect the current state. Only time will tell if power sector decarbonisation will go hand-in-hand with EV cost reduction and adoption.

Source: Wood Mackenzie

Puregas Solutions, a part of the technology group Wärtsilä, has been contracted to supply a turnkey biogas upgrading plant to the USA. The plant will upgrade an existing anaerobic digester (AD) to produce biomethane. It has been ordered by a leader in sustainable agricultural practices, located in the state of Oregon.

The Puregas solution will process 3,100 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of biogas from the anaerobic digestion of manure from more than 50,000 dairy cows. The renewable natural gas will then be injected into a pipeline for use as transportation fuel in California, the adjoining state. The project generates Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, as well as credits under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

The plant is expected to produce around 81 mmBTU of biomethane per year. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of over 15,000 households, 570 city buses, or 10,000 cars, with an annual CO2 reduction of 51,000 tons.

The project includes the installation of gas conditioning equipment, as well as compression to 975 psi for pipeline injection. The Puregas CApure CA80 biogas upgrading plant is scheduled to be delivered during the first quarter of 2019. The contract also includes the supply and installation of a hydrogen sulphide removal system.

This is the first order received by Puregas from the USA, and is in line with the increasing global trend for using chemical absorption technology to provide unrivalled methane recovery, thereby maximising revenues with low operating costs.

Source: Wärtsilä

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