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Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.
It was just two weeks ago here that we brought forward a story about “a troubling new report from leading physicists” regarding renewable energy battery farms “with the potential for huge explosions, fires and clouds of toxic gas, [that] could devastate towns and villages nearby…” And, now”
A Tesla battery has burst into flames during testing at the site of the southern hemisphere’s largest battery project.
A 13-metric-ton lithium battery caught fire on Friday at the renewable energy plant, called the Victorian Big Battery, near Geelong, about 50 miles from Melbourne. The blaze then spread to an adjacent battery bank, Australia’s ABC reports, but has since been contained.
A toxic smoke warning has been issued in the area. Fire crews will have to wait up to 24 hours for the blaze to die down.
The site is the second Tesla battery project Down Under, following the 2017, a facility which Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the “world’s largest” at the time.
As our reader notes, there is clearly a problem of scale and toxicity here. This incident demonstrates what we all we know; energy must be produced and safely delivered on demand at an industrial scale. Natural gas has met that challenge and green energy has not. It has a long way to go. And, then there is much bigger issues of energy density.
Hat Tip: M.D.
There is a role for green energy but it’s as a supplement, not a replacement. Natural gas is needed to ensure reliability and without it there is none:
This week, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) became the first airport in the world to be completely powered independently by a microgrid, using natural gas and solar power created on PIT property…
The microgrid is something the airport had been studying for several years, but the December 2017 power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta — among the world’s busiest — put the problem of maintaining consistent power in stark relief…
There were 16 initial applicants vying to build the microgrid. In 2019, the project was awarded to Peoples Natural Gas — for a 20-year contract to build, maintain and operate the microgrid at no cost to the airport.
Not only does the microgrid make the airport immune to problems with the greater power grid, it will also create a savings on electricity for the airport and its tenants, such as the Hyatt Hotel and Sunoco…
Natural gas wells drilled on airport ground — and five natural gas-fueled generators — along with the solar panels, will give PIT more than enough power needed, even as the giant multibillion-dollar terminal modernization project proceeds. Peak demand is currently 14 megawatts; the microgrid delivers 20 megawatts of electricity…
Other airports are working on microgrids and related technologies, especially solar power. They are mostly smaller regional airports in the West. This is the only one that can meet 100% of its own electrical demand.
See what we mean? It takes natural gas to get the job done. It’s that simple! And, here’s the proof.
Hat Tip: J.S.
It isn’t just the battery issue, but then again, it is the batteries:
Supply chain weaknesses were brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for industries relying on electronics, as the flow of raw materials slowed or sometimes stopped. On top of that, shifting consumer values and tougher environmental regulations have resulted in more people buying hybrid vehicles.
The batteries in these cars require rare metals that, depending on their supplies, can have volatile and unpredictable prices. But there are other scarce elements and materials that may be used in smaller amounts in hybrid models versus conventional gas vehicles, raising the question of how these vehicles really compare with regard to supply chain vulnerabilities.
Although previous studies reported lists of the elements used in conventional cars’ parts, similar information on the parts used in hybrid vehicles is lacking. So, Randolph Kirchain and colleagues wanted to develop a comprehensive comparison of the elements and compounds that go into all the parts in gas-powered, self-charging hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, calculating each of the three vehicles’ materials cost vulnerability.
The researchers collected information on the compounds in the more than 350,000 parts used to build seven vehicles from the same manufacturer with different levels of electrification, including four sedans and three sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Then, they calculated the amount of the 76 chemical elements present, as well as a few other materials, in each car type.
To develop a monetary metric for vulnerability, the team considered the weight of each component, along with its average price and price volatility between 1998 and 2015. The results showed that self-charging hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles have twice the raw material cost risks, which equates to an increase of $1 billion for a fleet of a million sedans and SUVs, compared to conventional models.
The largest contributors to the increase in cost risks were battery-related elements, such as cobalt, nickel, graphite and neodymium; however, changes to the exhaust and transmission systems in hybrid vehicles reduced the impact of palladium and aluminum, respectively.
I know we’ve shown this before, but somehow it seems so appropriate to do so again (for our new readers, of course):
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