Cement, Steel, Plastics & Ammonia

December 03, 2022

Vaclav Smil: "Four materials rank highest on the scale of necessity, forming what I have called the four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics, and ammonia are needed in larger quantities than are other essential inputs.

"And these four materials, so unlike in their properties and qualities, share three common traits: they are not readily replaceable by other materials (certainly not in the near future or on a global scale); we will need much more of them in the future; and their mass-scale production depends heavily on the combustion of fossil fuels, making them major sources of greenhouse gas emissions."

Sizewell C Contracts Signed

November 30, 2022


BBC: "Grant Shapps visited the Suffolk coast to mark the signing of contracts with French energy firm EDF for £700m of government investment in Sizewell C."

More People Without Access to Electricity

November 06, 2022


International Energy Agency:  "According to the latest IEA data, the number of people around the world who live without electricity is set to rise by nearly 20 million in 2022, reaching nearly 775 million, the first global increase since the IEA began tracking the numbers 20 years ago. The rise is mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people without access is nearly back to its 2013 peak."

Toyota to Begin Production of Hydrogen Powertrains

November 06, 2022


Autoweek: "While the jury is still out on whether hydrogen fuel cells will play a big role in powering future consumer vehicles, it does show some promise in filling the long-range trucking space. That’s the thinking at Toyota, in any case, as the automaker has invested heavily in hydrogen-electric vehicles. This tech is still years away from seeing mass adoption on the roadways, but Toyota is readying its powertrain to see production start next year."

Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

November 04, 2022

Manhattan Institute: "Over the past decade, there has been an enormous upswing in public and private investment in developing new, smaller types of nuclear reactors. Whether prematurely or not, private investors and public policymakers have concluded that the traditional model of building large (approximately 1,000-MW) reactors is no longer financially viable. A number of startups—along with established companies, including GE-Hitachi (GEH) and Holtec—are designing small reactors that would be built in factories and delivered to power stations mostly complete.  These include Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) that are basically scaled-down versions of today’s large light-water reactors, as well as advanced reactors that typically use exotic methods such as molten salt or high-temperature gas, instead of water, for cooling. These small reactors range in output from megawatts in the single digits to 300 MW. Multiple small reactors can be grouped together on a single site to reach the power output of a large plant."

Conversion of Coal Power Plants to Nuclear

October 29, 2022

U.S. DOE:  "A new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study finds that hundreds of coal power plant sites across the country could be converted to nuclear power plant sites. This would dramatically increase the supply of firm and dispatchable clean electricity to the grid and deliver huge gains to the nation’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

"According to the report, this coal-to-nuclear (C2N) transition could help increase nuclear capacity in the U.S. to more than 250 gigawatts (GW). The existing fleet currently has a combined capacity of 95 GW and supplies half of the nation’s emissions-free electricity.

"The transition would also bring tangible benefits back to energy communities with additional jobs, new economic activities, and improved environmental conditions."


U.S. Exposure to Putin's Energy Machinations

October 26, 2022

Thomas Friedman: "So add all of this up and then suppose, come December, Putin announces he is halting all Russian oil and gas exports for 30 or 60 days to countries supporting Ukraine, rather than submit to the European Union’s fixing of his oil price. He could afford that for a short while. That would be Putin’s energy bomb and Christmas present to the West. In this tight market, oil could go to $200 a barrel, with a commensurate rise in the price of natural gas. We’re talking $10 to $12 a gallon at the pump in the United States.

"The beauty for Putin of an energy bomb is that unlike setting off a nuclear bomb — which would unite the whole world against him — setting off an oil price bomb would divide the West from Ukraine."


October 25, 2022

NewHydrogen: "NewHydrogen is developing a breakthrough green hydrogen generator that uses renewable energy to produce low-cost green hydrogen. Hydrogen is the cleanest and most abundant fuel in the universe. It is zero-emission and only produces water vapor when used. Unfortunately, hydrogen does not exist in its pure form on Earth so it must be extracted from a source that contains hydrogen. For centuries, scientists have known how to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using a simple and elegant device called an electrolyzer. Unfortunately, an electrolyzer – the primary component of a hydrogen generator – is still very expensive. NewHydrogen is developing breakthrough technologies to enable the next generation of low cost electrolyzers. The Company’s initial focus is on replacing and reducing expensive rare earth materials, to help usher in the green hydrogen economy that Goldman Sachs estimated to have a future market value of $12 trillion."

Ocean Warming Accelerates

October 19, 2022

Washington Post: "The world’s oceans have been warming for generations, a trend that is accelerating and threatens to fuel more supercharged storms, devastate marine ecosystems and upend the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, according to a new scientific analysis. . . .

"Scientists attribute about 40 percent of global sea level rise to the effects of thermal expansion in ocean water. Warmer oceans also speed the melting of ice sheets, adding to rising seas. They disrupt traditional weather patterns and deepen drought in some areas. And they fuel more intense hurricanes, as well as create the conditions for more torrential rainfall and deadly flooding."

Vogtle Unit 3 Fuel Loading Begins

October 14, 2022


Georgia Power: "Georgia Power announced tonight that fuel load into the Vogtle Unit 3 reactor core has begun at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga. The fuel load process marks a historic and pivotal milestone toward startup and commercial operation of the first new nuclear units to be built in the U.S. in more than three decades.

"'The Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear units represent a critical, long-term investment in our state's energy future, and the milestone of loading fuel for Unit 3 demonstrates the steady and evident progress at the nuclear expansion site,' said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. 'We're making history here in Georgia and the U.S. as we approach bringing online the first new nuclear unit to be built in the country in over 30 years. These units are important to building the future of energy and will serve as clean, emission-free sources of energy for Georgians for the next 60 to 80 years.'"