Tracking the Energy Transition: Walmart Drives Toward Zero Emissions and Sigma Shifts to Green Lithium
In the world of wind, Equinor has postponed its initiative indefinitely while Repsol moves ahead in Italy, and Portugal plans to auction offshore leases for wind farms.
Walmart has announced the debut of the first North American—and the first of five—15-liter compressed natural gas engines that will be incorporated into its private fleet in the company’s goal for a zero-emissions transportation fleet. The X15N engine is supplied by Cummins and fueled by Chevron with compressed natural gas linked to renewable natural gas. In 2022, Walmart announced several initiatives for its Class 8 transportation fleet to reach its goal of achieving zero emissions across global operations by 2040.
Sigma Transitions to Green Lithium
Sigma Lithium Corporation has successfully transitioned from developer to producer with the achievement of the first production of battery-grade sustainable lithium concentrate (green lithium). The development came as the company successfully completed Phase 1 of construction in the development of the Grota do Cirilo project in Brazil. As the project ramps to full production capacity, high-quality green lithium will be stockpiled and prepared for sale.
Carmaker Stellantis has signed a new agreement with Australia-listed lithium supplier Vulcan Energy Resources aiming to help decarbonize its European operations, as reported by Reuters. The agreement includes the first phase of a project to develop new geothermal sources contributing to the energy supply of an industrial site in Mulhouse, eastern France. Stellantis previously worked with Vulcan to develop geothermal energy projects to help production of electric vehicles at its Rüsselsheim facility in Germany.
IEA Report Highlights Clean-Energy Technology
Investment in clean-energy technologies is significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels as affordability and security concerns triggered by the global energy crisis strengthen the momentum behind more sustainable options, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). According to the report, $2.8 trillion is set to be invested globally in energy in 2023, of which more than $1.7 trillion is expected to go to clean technologies—including renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, grids, storage, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements, and heat pumps.
Equinor Postpones Offshore Wind Initiative
Equinor has announced it will postpone further development of the Trollvind offshore wind initiative indefinitely. Technology availability, rising cost, and a strained timetable to deliver on the original concept are cited as the reasons for the postponement, which comes after Equinor previously announced reduced project activity. “We appreciate all the positive response towards Trollvind from politicians, suppliers, and authorities,” said Siri Espedal Kindem, Equinor’s vice president of renewables, Norway. “Trollvind was a bold industrial plan to solve pressing issues concerning electrification of oil and gas installations, bringing much needed power to the Bergen area while accelerating floating offshore wind power in Norway. Unfortunately, we no longer see a way forward to deliver on our original concept of having an operational wind farm well before 2030.”
Portugal Leaps Into Offshore Wind
Portugal’s first auction of licenses to build offshore wind farms, set to be launched by year-end, is aimed for projects with a total installed capacity of more than 1 GW, Energy Secretary Ana Fontoura said. With these projects, Portugal is targeting 10 GW of installed capacity and a total investment of $33–44 billion by 2030. “We are determined to launch it this year ... so we’ll have a lot of work (to do) during the summer,” Fontoura told reporters at an energy summit in Lisbon. “This first auction will surely have a capacity of over 1 GW, and then we will hold more auctions in the coming years."
Repsol Advances Renewable Projects in Italy
Repsol will develop renewable projects in Italy totaling 1,768 MW, comprising 943 MW of wind and 825 MW of photovoltaic solar projects. More than 60% of the projects in Italy are at an advanced stage of development. The projects come as Repsol’s 2021–2025 Strategic Plan includes reaching 6,000 MW of installed capacity by 2025 and 20,000 MW by 2030.
Wind Turbine Towers Become Sustainable
RWE and Siemens Gamesa have agreed to introduce 36 GreenerTower wind turbine towers at the 1,000 MW Thor offshore wind power project in Denmark. The towers are made of more sustainable steel, ensuring a CO2 reduction of at least 63% in the tower steel plates compared with conventional steel. “Wind power is one of the cornerstones of the green energy transition. With more than 600 GW of new capacity to be installed worldwide in the next 5 years, it is important for the wind industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Our project to address emissions with greener steel is one such solution. With the launch of the GreenerTower, Siemens Gamesa leads the efforts to further push wind circularity and net-zero emissions,” said Maximilian Schnippering, head of sustainability at Siemens Gamesa.
CF Industries and NextEra Energy Team Up
CF Industries Holdings and NextEra Energy Resources announced a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture to develop a zero-carbon-intensity hydrogen project at CF Industries’ Verdigris Complex in Oklahoma. The proposed project, which envisions a jointly owned 100-MW electrolysis plant at the complex, will be powered by a dedicated 450-MW renewable-energy facility developed by NextEra Energy Resources. CF Industries would be the sole offtaker of 100% of the zero-carbon green hydrogen output from the site’s electrolyzers, with the green hydrogen producing up to 100,000 tons per year of zero-carbon green ammonia, which would be facilitated by debottlenecking Verdigris’ ammonia plants.
US Set To Receive E-Natural Gas Production Unit
TotalEnergies has announced a partnership with Tree Energy Solutions to study and develop a large-scale production unit in the US expected to produce between 100,000 and 200,000 metric tons of e-natural gas, a synthetic gas produced from renewable hydrogen and CO2. The companies will conduct preliminary studies and aim to reach a final investment decision in 2024.
DNV Expands in Singapore
DNV has announced the expansion of its research laboratory in Singapore with new testing equipment for the safety assessments of hydrogen transport and storage facilities. The new equipment will provide a hydrogen-ready integrated solution for fatigue crack growth rate testing. The test chamber includes hydrogen booster systems, safety and hydrogen alarms, ventilation systems, and an additional test vessel. DNV’s experts in Singapore will use the new equipment to assess the fracture, fatigue, and corrosion performance of pipe material such as steel for varying concentrations of hydrogen under different operational and environmental conditions, such as high pressure.
A New CCS Partnership Emerges
Wood has signed a memorandum of understanding with Computer Modelling Group. As part of the agreement, Wood will combine its surface, fluids transport, and pipeline engineering expertise with CMG’s subsurface software and services to provide an integrated and connected approach to carbon capture and storage project development.
Scotland Will Be New Home to CO2 Facility
TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory has secured more than $1 million in funding from Horizon Europe to build the world’s first national standard liquid/dense phase CO2 calibration facility, located in East Kilbride, Scotland. The new facility will support EU targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. Gabriele Chinello, head of carbon capture, use, and storage at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, said, “I’m looking forward to seeing the impact that this research will have on the measurement and monitoring of CO2 for CCUS. Thanks to the funding and Europe-wide collaborations, the project is poised to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change and help pave the way for a more sustainable future.”
Offshore CO2 Expands in Britain
Twelve companies were awarded a total of 20 licenses to develop CO2 storage offshore in Britain’s first licensing round for such projects, as reported by Reuters. Britain aims to use carbon capture and storage technology to hold between 20 million and 30 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
Western Australia Pipeline Approved for Hydrogen
APA Group has confirmed that the existing 43-km section of the Parmelia Gas Pipeline in Western Australia can be converted to a 100% hydrogen service. “This research is very encouraging as it suggests there could be potential for our existing gas transmission pipeline network to play an important role in connecting hydrogen production hubs to industrial sites across the nation,” APA’s CEO and Managing Director, Adam Weston, said.
Finland Soon Will Be Home to Green Hydrogen Plant
Plug Power announced it aims to build three plants in Finland costing around $6 billion to produce green hydrogen and ammonia for the European market. “When you look at the Finnish grid, it’s 87% renewable already. That really makes it much simpler and straightforward to generate green hydrogen,” said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. The company would employ around 1,000 people and produce an estimated 850 tonnes of hydrogen per day.