Then a flow of papers about critical resources that remain at the center of attention for both policy makers and economic actors: a view that the next critical resource for the US would be.... water, some modeling of the global water demand for determining water scarcity variability and impacts, a demonstration that decarbonation of steel and iron industries is well underway... but could also mean more energy consumption, an overview of EU perspective and policy on batteries, a survey on how technology and recycling could seriously and positively reduce the amount of critical materials needed to produce future electric vehicles and 2 practical examples of the idea with Schlumberger testing a new industrial Lithium extraction process in Nevada in order to reduce production time from one year to a few weeks and with a detailed analysis of matching batteries production and recycling capacities in Europe.
Further on the scientific front with an "every month more difficult to select" variety of innovations: a new generation of non inflammable ceramic electrolytes at GeorgiaTech, a newly designed and more efficient sulfonamide based electrolyte for Lithium metal batteries at MIT, a method to use Carbon Fiber and improve both mechanical and electrical properties of structural batteries at Chalmers, indium films at the atomic scale that retain their super conductivity even when a strong magnetic field is applied at NIMS, Osaka University and Hokkaido University, a study showing efficiency and cost improvement of lithium ion batteries over the past 20 years at Santa Fe Institute and MIT and, at the frontier between science and industry, the agreement signed by Hydro Quebec to industrialize a technology developed at University of South Wales (manganese hydride molecular sieve) that allows for greater H2 storage capacity at lower weight, lower tank pressure, lower manufacturing costs... and with no need for further liquefaction step (thus generating savings also on transport costs).
On the sustainability front, we picked 4 examples: Volkswagen announcing their Roadmap to cheaper and more efficient EV system, BASF partnering with Linde and SABIC to develop an electrical heated steam cracker furnace, a common standard of swappable batteries for Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha in order to speed up adoption of electric bikes in Japan ... and an interesting analysis on why it is even more important now to recycle aluminium cans.
19 (!) of our great Start Up Alumni are in the news this month with nominations (Carbios - France, Cycladex - USA, Genes'Ink - France, Polystyvert - Canada, Rein4CED - Belgium) and Spin Ion - France), fund raising (CompPair - Switzerland), sale (Cuberg - USA), new product line (Thrupore - USA), or media coverage (Aerosint - Belgium, Alliage Titane - Canada, Citrine Informatics - USA, EH Group - Switzerland, Kebotix - USA, Keey Aerogel - France, Nawa Technologies - France, Ramlab - NL, UbiQd - USA, Vaporsens - USA).
And finally let's give it to Bill Gates this month as he reminds us that we should pursue breakthroughs because the green alternatives are not cheap enough...
As always, we hope that you enjoy the reading.
Victoire de Margerie & Philippe Varin
MDPI, February 20th: Decarbonation of steel and iron industries is well underway... but could also mean more energy consumption
Transport & Environment, March 1st: Technological advancements will drive down the amount of critical materials required to make an EV battery over the next decade (lithium by 50%, cobalt by 75% and nickel by 20%). And by then over 20% of the lithium and nickel and 65% of the cobalt needed for a new battery could come from recycling.
New Car Congress, March 19th: Lithium extraction pilot plant in Nevada to test new Schlumberger industrial process that should reduce production time from one year to weeks for high purity battery grade material.
Greencar Congress, March 20th: Hydro Quebec signs an agreement to industrialize a technology developed at University of South Wales - a manganese hydride molecular sieve - that allows for greater storage capacity at lower weight, lower tank pressure, lower manufacturing costs ... and with no need for further liquefaction step thus generating savings also on transport costs