Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

28 April 2022

The world of renewables this week

German certification body TUV Rheinland has given the world’s first clean hydrogen certificate to a planned green ammonia projects in Oman. The first phase of that project, which is being developed by Scatec and ACME Group, will include with 300 MW of electrolyzer capacity, powered by 500 MW of solar. Located in the Duqm special economic zone, the project is expected to produce 1.2 million tons of green ammonia per year. Beyond the first phase, the project is expected to grow to host around 2 GW of electrolyzers, powered by 3 GW of PV and 500 MW of wind.

Vestas has inaugurated its new wind turbine blade production plant in Taiwan, along with partner Tien Li Offshore Wind. The unit will produce blades for the company’s V174-9.5 MW turbines.

TotalEnergies has made a potentially record-breaking oil discovery off the coast of Namibia. The company has yet to disclose the scale of the volumes found, but the surrounding bloc covers an area of over 8,000 square kilometers – it could well be the largest ever deep-water discovery, with the current record held by the 11.3-billion-barrel Buzos discovery in Brazil. Total’s choice whether to exploit it, however, will depend on how much it is willing to contradict its decarbonization strategy.

NTPC Renewable Energy is seeking electrolyzer manufacturers to partner with as part of a 1 GW electrolyzer project. The company will hold a tender for prospective partners, with the winning bidder or bidders supplying, installing, commissioning and maintaining 400 MW of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers and 600 MW of non-PEM electrolyzers, as well as the balance of plant.

Norway’s Statkraft and Aker Horizons will team up to target

green hydrogen and ammonia production markets in Brazil and India. The pair will focus on the decarbonization the steel sector in the region, as well as the production of ammonia for export. The first Brazilian venture will also include Sowitec in the development of a large-scale hybrid power-to-x project for the local fertilizer industry, with an initial Bahia project due ot be in service by 2027. In India, Statkraft and Aker said they will look to link green power generation with hydrogen for steel decarbonization, as part of the country’s strategy produce five million tons of green hydrogen per year by 2030.

TotalEnergies secured a new 4 GW chunk of US renewable energy capacity with the acquisition of Texas-based PV and storage developer Core Solar. Financial terms remain undisclosed, with the new capacity bringing TotalEnergies’ US renewables asset base to more than 10 GW, with projects spanning solar, storage and offshore wind.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has outlined a plan to lease waters in the Gulf of Mexico to offshore wind developers, spanning from central Louisiana to the border of Mexico, worth a potential 16 GW of capacity. The region is expected to be leased in eleven zones, each with capacity of between 1 GW and 1.5 GW.

The SNEC Exhibition – the world’s largest event for showing off the latest solar module products – has been delayed from May until December, due to the lockdowns afflicting Shanghai at present. In 2020 the Exhibition was similarly delayed, but only until August.

Perovskite start-up Tandem PV has raised $6 million for a manufacturing line in California, with the intention to raise another $6 million for its Series A finance. This start-up’s offering is to coat ordinary solar module front glass with perovskites and sell that to silicon PV module manufacturers, which should be a relatively straightforward and cheap upgrade to ordinary modules. This simpler type of perovskite tandem gained traction with First Solar and Sunpower’s joint announcement that they will do something similar with CdTe and silicon.

Polysilicon maker Daqo New Energy has recorded its most profitable quarterly results ever, with 31,383 tonnes produced in Q1 2022 and 38,839 sold. The company’s production costs fell 28% to $10.09 per kilogram thanks to more efficient production of silicon powder, and while the price of polysilicon fell, the amount Daqo sold increased. The company will commission a 100,000-ton facility in 2023, with production to ramp up in the first half of that year.

The Netherlands intends to abolish VAT on solar module supply and installation for the residential and government building sectors, after EU members were granted permission to do so. The country’s VAT is at 21%, and the abolition would spare consumers the effort of going through a bureaucratic process to reclaim the tax.

GCL Technology has announced than in Q1 2021 it had an operating income of $1.07 billion of which profit was $462 million – and it stated that while overall profit margin was 46%, its granular polysilicon production profit margin was 15% higher than for rod silicon (Siemens process), with the latter being the mainstream technology, while granular should reach 50% market share by 2030, up from around 10% today. GCL also stated that its annual production capacity had reached 30,000 tons of granular, 45,000 tons of rod-pulling, and 50 GW of solar wafers.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed rules changes that would require transmission providers to conduct regional, long-term planning with the energy transition in mind. The Regional Transmission Cost Allocation is also slated to be changed.

US public solid state lithium ion battery maker QuantumScape has issued a new shareholder detailing its scale up plan in 3 phases; phase 1 more development, pre-A customer sampling; phase 2, engineering line builds making larger scale equipment with higher levels of automation phase 3 film production in large continuous kilns with automated film handling and cell assembly. Its discussions with shareholders has always been highlights technical and involves landmarks achieved. Essentially these landmarks show that the energy density is going up, perhaps beyond what was first envisaged, and the time of recharge is coming down – all as it should, it has plenty of cash and has not revised any of its timelines.

FreeWire Technologies says it has raised $125 million in series D financing to accelerate the deployment of its next generation EV charging. The lead sponsor was Blackrock Financial Management with bp ventures, Riverstone Holdings, Octave Ventures, Gly Capital Management, Blue Bear Capital and Daishin Private Equity and others all partaking of the offer. It will increase manufacturing capacity to deliver in the UK, Canada, Japan,  Australia and New Zealand. So far Freewire has installed 5 MWh of energy storage capacity through battery-integrated charging to date, with over 30 MWh booked.

Energy Vault Holdings, says that it has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NTPC Limited, the largest power generating utility in India, to offer its gravity energy storage product throughout India after a joint feasibility study. The idea is that it gives a perfect home for NTPC coal ash in making up the composite blocks for Energy Vault’s energy storage system. Critics points to the high CO2 content of its weights, which previously had been multi-ton concrete blocks, but since the CO2 has already been released from this coal, and nothing it could do would have prevented that, using what’s left as dead weight cannot do much further harm. Rethink Energy too has criticized it, but only on the basis that it is too project oriented and doesn’t have enough money or good enough industrial partners.

German boiler maker Viessmann says that with the recent launch of two new monobloc air source heat pumps in Europe, the Vitocal 150-A and Vitocal 151-A, these can be used for directly replacing gas boilers with outputs of 10, 13 and 16 kW and water temperatures of 70°C, rather than the more usual 45°C. It will work with an outside temperature as low as -10 °C and installed without changing radiators.