The Clean Tech News
Nikola’s New Pick-Up Truck Sends Stocks Soaring

The new sustainable vehicle start-up, Nikola has seen a massive increase in their stocks after announcing their new pick-up, the ‘Badger’, via Twitter
Electric vehicle (EV) start-up Nikola made its debut as a publicly-traded company on 4th June. Although the company is yet to deliver a single product or have a factory their new pick-up, the ‘Badger’, is designed to compete with the Ford F-10. The electric and fuel cell vehicle pioneer already have a market higher than industry the well-established company, Fiat Chrysler.

Nikola’s mission is to “transform the transportation industry while improving our employees’ lives and leaving the world a better place” through the production of their hydrogen and electric vehicles. It is their use of both hydrogen and electric-powered vehicles which CEO, Trevor Milton, told CleanTech News is “another competitive advantage of Nikola”.

To complete their ‘mission’ and “transform the transportation industry”, Milton told us Nikola will take “nearly 1 million dollars of revenue away from oil companies for every truck [Nikola] we build. Vertical integration is key to Nikola’s success and controlling the zero-emission fuel and zero-emission vehicle allows us to transform how transportation functions”.

After a tweet by CEO, Trevor Milton, announcing the release of their new pick-up truck, The ‘Badger’, stock in the pioneering company soared 104% on Monday. Despite their lack of production, Nikola was valued at $28.63 billion as of market close Tuesday, even eclipsing Ford at one point on the same day.

Initially, the company’s focus has been to design, develop and produce hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks. On top of this, they have also focused on building hydrogen station infrastructure throughout North America.

Nikola’s hydrogen-electric vision has expanded to pickup trucks and since sharing the first details in February, they will open reservations for the ‘Badger’ on the 29th of this month. Milton told us about the performance of his products stating “not only does sustainable vehicles perform better than ICE vehicles, they create more jobs and make a greater impact on cleaning up pollution” drawing attention to the breadth of advantages products such as ‘The Badger’ has.

What makes the ‘Badger’ unique?
The ‘Badger’ pick-up truck is, according to Milton, “the only pickup to be offered in BEV and FCEV options. With the Badger you can buy it as a BEV with the option to add the fuel-cell for more range” and “it is the only pickup to offer more than 500 miles per range”.

The new pick-up is being offered as both electric and hydrogen fuel cell as “electric works very well in short-haul or city driving. Hydrogen works best for long-haul or hauling trailers fully-loaded that need range and/or are weight-sensitive”.

Although the company is yet to produce its vehicles, there has been a rise in interest in the hydrogen fuel cell field. Hydrogen has the same benefits as electric vehicles as they use the same electric motors while also eliminating issues derived from battery electric vehicles such as long recharge times and added weight. A lighter battery with a shorter recharge time is beneficial for long-haul vehicles, hence why the ‘Badger’ is offered as both battery-electric and fuel cell electric.

Why have they been so successful?
The need for sustainable vehicles has been exacerbated in today’s climate. There is an increased awareness about the need to replace the use of fossil fuels with sustainable, cleaner alternatives to protect our planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to reverse the damage made and change the way we use technology.

According to Milton, there have been some delays in suppliers due to the pandemic, pushing everything back by a few months, but he is not concerned by the effect the pandemic could have on the company. Milton told us concerning to this, “We do know that there is a greater push for clean vehicles after the virus which has been a positive for the clean energy and transportation” he continued “I believe it [COVID-19] will only accelerate adoption to EV’s”.

Already, the company have secured truck orders worth $10 billion from companies led by Anheuser-Bush and it has been estimated their sales will jump from $150 million to $3.2 billion from 2021 to 2024. Nikola is also expected to sell or lease 7,000 battery-powered units and 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell trucks in 2024.

When talking about the initial success of the company, Milton attributes this to many things, but the key seems to be communication. Milton told us “We make it a point to be as open and transparent as possible by making our supporters feel like they truly know us through behind-the-scenes videos, company tours, social media engagement across all platforms by me and my team”.

He also told us “Today, investors choose to invest in those making a difference and that is why Nikola has been so successful”.

It is Nikola’s recognition for the need for sustainable, clean vehicles in the market paired with their openness and transparency which has made this innovative start-up such a success. Currently partnered with European commercial vehicle maker CNH/Iveco to build a battery-electric version of their trucks, Nikola should be ready for the market starting 2021. They are also working with Bosch, Meritor and several other manufacturers specialising in commercial vehicle space.

With the success of the start-up before they’ve even built their factory, there is a lot to be expected from the electric and fuel cell vehicle pioneer, Nikola. For the future Milton hopes to “execute our [their] business model, finish the factory, build trucks and get profitable” also stating “it is incredibly exciting to be solving global challenges through strategic design and innovation”.

EU’s €750bn Recovery Plan to Boost Public Transport

After concerns in the rail industry about public transport issues, the European Commission has set out its post-COVID-19 recovery plan including a boost for rail travel and clean mobility.
Following a joint statement by the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), and the European Rail Industry Association (UNIFE) urging European decision makers to place public transport at the centre of the COVID-19 recovery plan, the European Commission (EC) has revealed a €750 billion package to help the European Union (EU) recover from the pandemic. The package includes several areas which focus on boosting sustainable public transport.

UIC, UITP and UNIFE all believe that investment into sustainable rail-based public transport is worthy of investment. The statement read:

“Investing in clean public transport also means better health, less pollution, critical for more than 90% of the world’s population that currently live in areas where air pollution exceeds safe levels. While COVID-19 is by no means a victory lap for environmentalists, it is also time for us to seize on those moments of cleaner air and make them a non-negotiable part of our future. We cannot look to a cityscape of more than two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050, without affordable, clean and green transport.”

In their plan the EC has focused on a “green and digital transition” for the future of Europe’s prosperity and resilience, a lot of this ‘transition’ includes areas to boost transport, particularly rail-based public transport. They expect variations in the economic impact between sectors, but with transport being hit particularly hard.

The strategy, which encompasses the European Green Deal, carries the same commitment to invest in cleaner more sustainable transport to aid its recovery post coronavirus. Where the EC’s proposal aims for cleaner transport and logistics, including the installation of one million charging points for electric vehicles and a “boost for rail travel and clean mobility”.

How the plan will ‘clean’ up public transport
Titled “Europe’s moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation”, the EC wants their plan to aid the sustainable recovery from COVID-19. EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said the fund will not only take Europe out of the crisis but also transform the EU economy.

As EC has identified clean transport as one sector requiring large scale investment, along with renewable energies, clean hydrogen solutions, sustainable food and smart circular economy. Von der Leyen recognizes the challenges Europe will face in the post coronavirus world stating: “This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”

Concerning the plan, von der Leyen has also stated:

“The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: The European Green Deal and digitalization will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment”.

Through the implementation of their plan, the EC wants to use the pandemic as a springboard to develop an economy that is more digitally focused and economically friendly.

Not only will their plan create jobs through the production and deployment of sustainable vehicles and alternative fuels, but the Connecting Europe Facility would be increased by €1.5 billion to €14.521 billion to support the financing of sustainable infrastructure and aid the shift to cleaner urban travel. This €1.5 billion investment will assist in creating high-performance transport infrastructure to facilitate cross-border connections such as the Rail Baltica high-speed rail project linking Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Also outlined in the plan, the EC wants to strengthen the Single Market and adapt to the digital age by investing in more and better connectivity through the rapid deployment of 5G networks. 5G connectivity can be used to benefit the development of sustainable vehicles as it can provide the foundation for autonomous vehicles, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence, which the rail sector is already working on.

Keeping the world clean with new travel options
The push for cleaner public transport options is gathering a lot of momentum with cities across the world investing in sustainable transport for their citizens. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, cities are newly cleanbecause of less pollution, which according to C40 air quality specialist Zoe Chafe has meant “citizens around the world have seen that change is possible”.

Cities around the world are also beginning to recognise the need to invest in public transport, adopting policies similar to the EC’s and EU’s post-COVID-19 recovery plan. Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is turning their transport system upside down with the world most ambitious plan to cut emissions in the city to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

Mexico City is also leading the way in sustainable transport options by raising emissions standards for new vehicles, promoting the use of hybrid and electric vehicles as well as investing in the metro system, cleaner buses, light railways and cable cars.

The plans made by the EC and EU paired with the individual developments made by cities and regions, Copenhagen and Mexico City as key examples, highlight that clean, sustainable public transport can help repair the world from the effects of the pandemic.

Energy Transitions Commission: Aiming for Net-Zero Shipping

In 2018 the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) released an aptly named report, ‘Mission Possible’, which aims to reach net-zero shipping by mid-century. Here is the progress of net-zero shipping today.
The report, which had contributions from over 200 experts over a six-month consultation process, focuses on reaching net-zero carbon emissions from shipping. ETC does so by bringing together a diverse group of industry leaders. These include energy producers, energy users, equipment suppliers, investors, non-profit organizations and academics.

Net-zero goal
The aim was to accelerate change towards low-carbon energy systems which enable robust economic development, which also limits the rise in global temperature to well below 2˚C and as close as possible to 1.5˚C.

Commission members suggested that achieving this goal would not only limit the harmful impact of climate change, but it would also drive prosperity and deliver important local environmental benefits.

According to the report, the goal of net-zero carbon emissions is possible by 2060 and earlier in developed economies and could cost less than 0.5% of global GDP, according to the report.

The report focuses on green steel use, which would add approximately $180 on the price of a car. Green shipping would also add less than 1% to the price of an imported pair of jeans and low-carbon plastics would add 1 US cent on the price of a bottle of soda.

They identify carbon emissions and demand trends by mid-century as potential challenges. As well as plastics, because of end-of-life emissions, cement, because of process emissions, and shipping due to the high cost of decarbonisation and the fragmented structure of the industry.

However, the ETC insists that reaching net-zero CO2 emissions across heavy industry and heavy-duty transport sectors is both technically and economically achievable

Emissions from shipping currently amount to around 0.9Gt CO2, accounting for almost 3% of total global emissions. Demand for shipping is expected to increase with global economic growth and shipping appears to be the most difficult transport mode to decarbonise, according to ETC.

ETC pinpoint three actions to accelerate the transition: innovation, policy, and industry/business. They also suggest the process is possible through demand management, energy efficiency and decarbonisation technologies.

Adair Turner, co-chair of the ETC said:

“This report sets out an optimistic but completely realistic message – we can build a zero-carbon economy with a minor cost to economic growth. We should now commit to achieving this by 2060 at the latest, and put in place the policies and investments required to deliver it.”

Ajay Mathur, co-chair of the Commission added:

“Climate change imperatives, underlined most recently in the IPCC Special Report to limit global warming to 1.5°C, require the world to move to near-zero carbon emissions by the 2060s or so – when many of the investments we make today would still be operational. The ETC report provides pragmatic steps to move towards zero-carbon technology options in these harder-to-abate sectors, providing both hope as well as strategic directions in these sectors.”

Present developments
Recently, shipping companies have been releasing statements regarding their progress in reaching the goal of ‘Mission Possible’.

Antwerp-based shipping company, Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) announced earlier this year that they pledge to be ‘Net Zero’ from 2020, and absolute ‘Zero’ by 2050. They have been investing in the development of zero carbon ships and engines.

The company: “firmly believes in zero carbon emissions from its shipping operations and aims to achieve this by 2050. Many low carbon and zero carbon technologies are already in the early stages of development, it is convinced the shipping industry will find solutions to today’s problems to provide zero carbon shipping by 2050”.

CMB.TECH is currently building the HydroTug (the world’s first hydrogen-powered tug boat) and are planning to deliver it to the Port of Antwerp in 2021. This marks CMB’s 125th anniversary year and “is a testimony to its continued belief in the power of global trade and human creativity.”

Velocys: UK’s first waste-to-jet-fuel plant to be set up

UK-based fuels firm Velocys recently gained planning permission to build the UK’s first waste-to-jet-fuel plant named Altato Immingham.
Velocys will work alongside British Airways and Shell to build the plant. Subject to additional funding and financial close, construction is set to begin in 2022, with fuel potentially being produced from 2025.

Velocys Vision
The firm hopes that Altalto will be the first in a fleet of world leading sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facilities using Velocys technology. They also aim to provide a blueprint that could make the UK a global centre for SAF production.

Located in the East Midlands, Altalto will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes each year of non-recyclable everyday household and commercial waste, otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into SAF. The fuel will deliver a net CO2 saving of around 70% for each tonne of conventional fuel it replaces, whilst particulate matter emissions will be up to 90% lower and Sulphur emissions close to zero.

Dr Neville Hargreaves, Vice President, Waste to Fuels at Velocys, said:

“We hope to see the Altalto plant producing SAF at commercial scale by the middle of this decade. Recent forecasts from industry coalition Sustainable Aviation show that 32% of the UK demand for kerosene could be met by domestically produced SAF by 2050- we want to be at the forefront of this movement.”

Dr Hargreaves added: “Aviation is one of the most challenging transport sectors to decarbonise — and SAF is essential to it. There is no alternative that can match the energy density of liquid hydrocarbon fuel, required for long haul flight, at least for several decades. As we look beyond COVID-19 and towards the green recovery, sustainable aviation, and SAF in particular, will have a central role to play if we are to continue flying and cut emissions.”

How is the progress going so far?
In early June, Velocys received planning permission for the Altalto plant site in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire which was a huge milestone in the life of the project so far. They have gained great support from partners and suppliers and as a result have been able to deliver high-quality engineering work to support the development.

Main challenges
According to Dr Hargreaves:

“Commercialising SAF production will be a game-changing industrial, economic and environmental opportunity for the UK and projects like ours demonstrate the growing demand for SAF, with the aviation industry looking for partnerships which will make widespread use of SAF a reality.”

Said Dr Hargreaves.
Dr Hargreaves, continues: “However, financing complex and innovative projects like this is always a challenge and requires a strong partnership between private investors and government. We recently secured a £500,000 grant from the Department for Transport to fund further project development. With the right support, SAF plants like ours will provide meaningful scale of supply within the decade and play a significant role in reaching the net zero target by 2050.”

Zoom: the answer to cutting transport’s carbon emissions?

Whilst many businesses have suffered during lockdown, video sharing platform Zoom made $4 billion in three months. Post-lockdown, what effect could this have on travel and the climate crisis?
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has aided those who have been forced to self-isolate completely. By keeping people in contact with family, friends and colleagues, video sharing has helped people adapt to the new normal.

Self-isolators have been able to attend online hobby classes, appointments and self-help groups. Zoom has allowed for a new kind of socialising to appear in lockdown.

Work continues from home for many and conference calls (even between the UK Cabinet) are being conducted from a distance.
Students have been able to attend classes and even complete exams on Zoom.
Instead of posting a #clubselfie, screenshots of friends raising a glass in their separate squares during a Zoom quiz permeate social media.
Video compilations of “Zoom calls gone wrong” have ensured everyone remembers to utilise the Mute and Stop Video options.
Zoom’s background options have kept meeting entertaining, and finally,
The platform has even aided in exposing Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit. After a Zoom meeting video recording was leaked, with Glassman stating: “Can you tell me why I should mourn for [police brutality victim, George Floyd]? Other than that it’s the white thing to do?” Glassman retired.
The Glassman incident does raise the question of privacy, and what other businesses are keeping quiet, whilst being recorded. With a total of 12 million users worldwide, it is clear Zoom as been incorporated into the lives of many.

The success of Zoom
The Chinese-American platform was created by Eric Yuan, who left network manufacturer Cisco, to create the app.

Although Zoom was popular when it was launched in 2011, within the first three months of the COVID-19 lockdown, the number of Zoom users soared. As a result, Yuan has earned an estimated USD $4bn.

What does Zoom have to do with the climate crisis?
With horrifying hacking incidents taking place and the rise of “Zoom fatigue”, not everyone is happy with Zoom. However, there is no doubt that Zoom has supported the world during a difficult time.

Whilst the UK emerges from lockdown, people are once again able to meet in person. But, after a spike in cases, residents in Galicia, Spain are entering their second lockdown. Zoom will once again provide a lifeline to those cut off from the world and carbon emissions from transport will dip in the area.

One positive aspect of lockdown is that there has been a massive reduction in carbon emissions from transport, as the need to travel has been vastly limited.

Through business meetings, workshops and other international events being cancelled, many have continued via Zoom, saving carbon emissions as people do not need to travel to get to work.

According to Investopedia, a finance comparison site, “Business travellers account for 12% of airlines’ passengers”.

Even after the much-hoped-for Coronavirus vaccine is found, the climate crisis will continue. The environmental damage brought by the transport sector will still need to be addressed. If businesses can see this benefit in group video calls it will reduce the need to send employees around the country or abroad. This trend could continue and cause a permanent, radical drop in carbon dioxide emissions

Porsche is making an impact towards a clean future

Exclusive sporting mobility company, Porsche, is committed to integrating sustainable strategies into their business model. With programmes like Porsche Impact, the company is on the way to a cleaner future.
German automobile manufacturer, Porsche, is pursuing the vision of becoming the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporting mobility.

After adapting its sustainability strategy in 2019, the company focuses on its long-term objective of achieving value-creating growth for economic values and social responsibility. They also want to simultaneously improve sustainability within its corporate activities on all levels.

The Porsche Sustainability Index also defines clear goals to be reached by 2050. In its sustainability strategy, the automobile manufacturer has acknowledged the changes and challenges the automotive industry is facing. With these challenges come new possibilities for design and innovation for the company.

Porsche wants to ensure its operations are environmentally and socially compatible whilst contributing to its economic success. This goal is what forms their new sustainability strategy;

Their strategic action areas underline Porsche’s holistic commitment to corporate sustainability
The ultimate goal of Porsche’s sustainability strategy is for the company to continuously reduce its negative environmental impact while further reinforcing its positive influence on society
Porsche’s clearly defined corporate vision demands that it becomes the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporting mobility
Porsche Impact: a CO2 compensation programme
Speaking to CleanTech News, Porsche outlined its sustainability goals. They are continuously looking to demonstrate their pioneering role and ambitions – in addition to e-mobility, digitalization and the spirit of innovation, especially in the area of sustainability. The sports car manufacturer understands sustainability holistically, acting in the areas of ecology, economics and society, thus actively facing up to its responsibility.

Managing their sustainability with clear targets and performance indicators. The first priority for Porsche is to avoid CO2 emissions. Where they cannot be avoided, they reduce them as far as possible. Thirdly, Porsche seeks offsetting options. Within that context, Porsche has developed its CO2 compensation programme, Porsche Impact.

Using an online calculator, Porsche customers can determine the CO2 footprint of their sports car and financially support projects to compensate for it. Porsche outlined this strategy to CleanTech News, they want to allow customers to make their own contribution and offset their CO2 driving emissions.

The company has reduced its CO2 emissions at its productions sites by 75% per car produced since 2014. This reduction was achieved by resource efficiency measures, using green electricity at production sites and biogas in the plant Zuffenhausen.

They have also increased the use of electric vehicles and rail transportation powered by green electricity.

A promising pilot for Porsche
Following a successful pilot phase, the Zuffenhausen-based sports car manufacturer is expanding their CO2 compensation programme, Porsche Impact. In addition to Germany, Great Britain, Poland and the USA, the service is now available in 15 further countries, including China, Canada, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia and the Philippines.

During the pilot period, which took place between December 2018 and April 2020, around 45,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were offset, fleet compensations are included in the 45,000 tonnes. Since the end of 2018 , the CO2 emissions of the Porsche AG fleet have been neutralised.

Prioritising avoiding CO2 emissions, Porsche is committed to its sustainability strategy. Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG, has stated concerning this commitment:

Porsche is pursuing a consistent sustainability strategy, we are emphatically committed to the CO2 goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and are continuously reducing our emissions.

Our vision is a factory that does not create an environmental impact, which is why we consider the effects of our vehicles along the entire supply chain and throughout their life cycles. With Porsche Impact, we offer customers the opportunity to make their own contribution and compensate their personal CO2 emissions”.

Where Porsche will make an Impact
With Porsche Impact, customers can choose between various internationally-certified projects. Once a customers CO2 footprint has been calculated, they can choose between initiatives that focus on forest protection in the USA, sustainable habitat protection in Zimbabwe and energy generation through hydro and wind power in Vietnam and China. As well as this, there are country-specific conservation projects in Canada and Australia.

The compensation contribution is based on consumption, annual mileage and the selected support programme. For example, the compensation amount for a Porsche vehicle that has driven 15,000km with an average consumption of 12 litres per 100km is between 46 and 104 Euros per year.

Taking sustainability one step further
It is clear sustainability is a central component of Porsche’s corporate strategy. Alongside programmes like Porsche Impact, the company are reducing CO2 emissions in other areas. In its main Zuffenhausen factory, Porsche exclusively uses electricity from renewable energies and biogas for heat generation. At the same factory, the production of the fully-electric Porsche Taycan is also CO2-neutral. These strategies will contribute to the Paris climate protection goal.

Porsche also relies on environmentally friendly rail transport solutions and electric gas-powered trucks for the transport of logistics.

Their sustainability strategies don’t end there. Porsche Cars Great Britain Ltd. has partnered with Autogreen Ltd. to provide a Government-approved national network of certified dismantling companies. This partnership allows customers to recycle their car.

The company’s ambition of becoming the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporting mobility seems to well within reach. With the integration of these sustainable strategies in their business model, Porsche is on the path to a cleaner, greener future.

ZeroAvia: decarbonising UK commercial aviation and operating Europe’s largest zero-emission plane

ZeroAvia, the leading company in decarbonising commercial aviation, has successfully conducted the first flight of the new battery-electric powered commercial-scale plane, Piper M-class, from its base in Cranfield, UK.
The UK based company set a ‘significant milestone’ in demonstrating long-distance zero-emission flights by a large aircraft, putting the UK on the right path to achieving its net-zero and green aviation goals.

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO, said:

This flight is the latest in a series of milestones that moves the possibility of zero emission flight closer to reality.”

ZeroAvia’s innovation programme in the UK is part of the UK Government-backed Project HyFlyer, funded by Innovate UK and the Aerospace R&T programme run by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

Dr Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer, ATI, said:

The ATI is delighted to see the first flight of ZeroAvia’s battery-electric aircraft at Cranfield. This exciting ATI funded project is the next step in an effort to develop a commercial zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial aircraft in the UK.”

According to a press release from ZeroAvia, Project HyFlyer aims to decarbonise medium-range passenger aircraft. Conventional engines in propeller aircraft will be replaced with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and gas storage.

ZeroAvia’s solution to decarbonising the aviation sector aims to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine, but with zero carbon emissions and at approximately half of the operating costs.

ZeroAvia is also collaborating with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which is supporting the development of the infrastructure needed to fuel the aircraft with green hydrogen, at Cranfield. For this project, leading fuel cell engineering company, Intelligent Energy is adapting its proprietary high-power evaporatively cooled fuel cell technology for aviation use.

The HighFlyer Project is also a key step towards ZeroAvia achieving its goal of supplying commercial operators and aircraft manufacturers with this new carbon reducing technology by 2023. Starting with up to 500-mile regional flights in 10 to 20-seat fixed-wing aircraft.

Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia Founder and CEO, said:

We all want the aviation industry to come back after the pandemic on a firm footing to be able to move to a net zero future, with a green recovery. That will not be possible without realistic, commercial options for zero emission flight, something we will bring to market as early as 2023.”

The benefits of hydrogen electric in aircrafts
ZeroAvia is focused on developing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Hydrogen-electric offers the same zero-emission potential of battery-electric, but with a more balanced energy-to-weight ratio making it suitable for commercial operations at a much larger scale and within a shorter time frame. Additionally, hydrogen-electric powertrain is estimated to have lower operating costs than the battery cycling in typical high-utilization regional aircrafts.

CleanTech News celebrates this breakthrough in clean aviation as carbon pollution from aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions fuelling global climate change.

BODAWERK: “E-mobility is a trend; it is not a choice”

Electric motorcycle company, BODAWERK, have developed lithium-ion batteries to transform the industry and help other companies to become successful.
Ugandan start-up, BODAWERK, have developed lithium-ion batteries to be used in East-Africa’s most common mode of transport: the motorcycle. Known in Uganda as the ‘Boda Boda’, they are used for transporting goods, people and as a recreational activity. This young start-up is currently looking for innovative solutions and improvements to the Boda Boda.

BODAWERK aims to introduce sustainable growth into its business model. Through the development of their lithium-ion batteries, the company want to maintain and operate the most comprehensive mobility rental platform in the region, changing Uganda’s Boda Boda industry for good.

BODAWERK’s CEO, Jakob Hornbach, spoke to CleanTech News about how he hopes to have a successful company, stating it will be down to their core values.

Our number one value is responsibility,” he said. “Our second value is teamwork because we believe little can be achieved alone. Value number three is equality. If we work together, everyone is responsible and we respect our differences then we will be successful as a company.”

As the Boda Boda is the main mode of transport in East-Africa, Hornbach said this shows the “significance of the Boda Boda in our [the Ugandan] economy” and they chose to develop a sustainable Boda Boda because “the impact will be great [on the environment]”.

Innovative solutions to kick-start the company
Hornbach told CleanTech News that the goal that underpins BODAWERK’s operations is the eradication of poverty, stating “we want to offer e-mobility at half of what people are currently spending”.

Explaining that it costs around $5-$6 a day for a Boda Boda driver to run their motorcycle, BODAWERK wants to offer it at $2.50 per day, which Hornbach says “translates in the average Boda Boda driver doubling his income.”

BODAWERK: “E-mobility is a trend; it is not a choice” CleanTech News
Jakob Hornbach – Image courtesy of Bodawerk
Striving to manufacture their products locally, BODAWERK are on a mission to empower the Ugandan workforce to take on increasingly larger and manufacturing and assembly challenges in Uganda. Hornbach told us that BODAWERK “are training the youths of Uganda here in future technology, lithium-ion battery technology and e-mobility,” demonstrating their commitment in practice.

Hoping to become the first mass lithium-ion production site in Africa, Hornbach then explained how they develop their technology.

“We take 208 lithium-ion cells and we make a battery pack out of them. We then add a battery management system that is super intelligent, has as many sensors as a lab, it has GPS it has communication and it has internet connection. It is the battery of the future.”

Taking their sustainability focus one step further, BODAWERK also has a battery recycling system. After issues with acquiring lithium-ion cells, which they need in their battery production, the company searched for innovative ways to start their Boda Boda production right away. BODAWERK turned to recycling laptop batteries to power their motorcycles, finding an innovative solution to prevent manufacturing delays.

Hornbach said of the project: “right now we are recycling more than 45,000 laptop batteries, that’s where we’re getting our cells from. Our first motorcycles were running on recycled laptop batteries. We drove thousands of kilometres on them.”

What’s in store for the future of the electric motorcycle?
When discussing the importance of e-mobility in Uganda, Hornbach said: “In the next 10-15 years we will see the entire transport sector shift 90% to e-mobility. E-mobility is a trend; it is not a choice”.

Hornbach also explained the decision Uganda has to make to be part of the e-mobility industry: “E-mobility is important for our planet, for climate change. It is important for our air quality in Kampala. The choice that Uganda can make is whether they want to be part of the value chain or they can import everything from China”.

The Ugandan start-up is already pushing sustainable transport in the region through their innovative technology and impressive battery recycling scheme. However, their mission for the future, as explained by Hornbach, is equally as impressive.

“We want to give all the technology that we have developed over the last two years cheaply to any e-mobility start up around the world. That includes the electric conversion of motorcycles, that includes our superior battery electronics. We will include software management programmes. The ultimate vision is that we will give start-ups all over the world the right technology and operational tools to be successful.”

Hitachi Rail bringing zero-emission trains to the UK

A new agreement between Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive promises zero-emission trains in the UK, opening the way for battery trains across the country.
Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive have signed an exclusive agreement to develop battery packs to power zero-emission trains in the UK. The partnership will create a battery hub in the North West of the country.

With a presence in 38 countries, across 3 continents, Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions. The company’s mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions.

Based in Sunderland, Hyperdrive Innovation manufactures lithium-ion battery systems for powering off-highway and material handling vehicles as well as stationary and portable energy storage systems. Hyperdrive wants to enable “the storage and use of the RIGHT energy at the RIGHT time”.

Hyperdrive opened the UK’s leading independent battery pack manufacturing facility, HYVE, in July 2019. This facility can produce up to 30,000 packs per year. This expansion means Hyperdrive is, outside major OEMs, the largest dedicated battery manufacturing facility in the UK.

The exclusive agreement is an important step towards manufacturing batteries in the HYVE facility in Sunderland. Once manufactured, the batteries will then be installed just 20 miles away at Hitachi Rail’s train-building factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Almost two thirds (58%) of the UK’s 20,000-mile rail network is not electrified. The two companies aim to accelerate the creation of batteries that can be mass-produced, providing emission-free power, for hundreds of battery trains across the UK.

This partnership comes at an important time as the government has set ambitious decarbonisation targets. In their analysis, Hitachi Rail estimates the potential market for Hyperdrive and their own battery technology is over 400 trains.

Business and Industry Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said of the partnership:

It’s fantastic to see two innovative companies joining forces to create good quality manufacturing jobs across the North East. An emission-free public transport system is vital if we’re to build a stronger, greener economic recovery that spreads prosperity and opportunity across the UK.”

Battery trains for a green recovery
Battery trains are a positive step towards a clean future as they produce no greenhouse gases or air pollution. They offer passengers cleaner air in stations, less noise disruption and a carbon-free way to travel. By installing batteries on existing fleets, they can extend the range and allow passengers to reach stations on non-electrified branch lines without having to change train.

Explaining their importance, Andrew Barr, Group CEO of Hitachi Rail, stated, “battery trains can play a vital role in improving the air we breathe, tackling climate change and providing modern, high performing rail service – all things we know passengers want to see”.

By installing the batteries on the much needed new metro and intercity trains, they will be able to replace diesel fleets in the coming years. Hitachi has identified its fleet of 275 trains as potential early recipients of the batteries for use in the UK.

Furthermore, this new venture will aid the UK’s green recovery.

The partnership with Hyperdrive creates shovel-ready opportunity for new battery trains to be ordered now. As well as new trains, there is also a window of opportunity to cut carbon and supercharge a green recovery in the North East and across the UK.”

Barr continued.
Hitachi: incubating local technology
Widespread adoption of battery train technology could be a major boost for the industry in the UK. It will create a market for Hyperdrive to increase its manufacturing capability up to 30,000 battery packs per year. On top of this, it will double the number of jobs at its factory in Sunderland.

The development of the UK’s first independent battery pack manufacturing facility has promising outcomes for the transport industry. This facility will drive costs down and for the first time offer domestic production of batteries for rail, automotive, construction and energy sectors.

Sharing his excitement at the new partnership with Hitachi, Chris Pennison, CEO of Hyperdrive, stated: “We’re delighted to bring our expertise and experience as a trusted electrification partner to a new industry, assisting an innovative organisation like Hitachi, as it modernises and decarbonises UK rail networks”.

Hitachi’s agreement with Hyperdrive is an example of a global company investing in one of its key markets and incubating local technology. It will act as a means of sharing skills, resources and knowledge. By creating battery packs that are best in class, the partnership will help position the North East of England as a hub for battery technology.

Supporting the Government’s levelling-up agenda, showing the importance of the agreement, Pennsion continued:

“Our partnership with Hitachi will secure major investment and jobs in the North East, reinforcing the UK’s battery supply chain and keeping the country on track to reach net-zero by 2050. To date, only 42% of UK railways are electrified, with British trains using 469 million litres of diesel each year, emitting over 2.4 million tonnes CO2 annually. The partnership underpins the vision that the rail industry can be a major contributor to the UK government’s targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and strengthens the case for home-grown innovation to be at the forefront of the UK’s clean growth strategy”.

An exclusive partnership for impressive companies
Both Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive have made impressive steps towards a cleaner future for the transport industry.

Across the world, Hitachi has an extensive battery train experience. In 2007, the company fitted a hybrid test train, known as a Class 43 HST, with batteries and tan over 100,000km. Then, in 2016, Hitachi introduced one of the world’s first regional battery trains in Japan.

Founded in 2012, Hyperdrive has been named in the top 40 of the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 list as one of the fastest-growing British Tech firms. They have also been awarded the Automotive Award at the Insider Media’s Made in the UK Awards 2019. Not only this, the battery company were also shortlisted for Innovation of the Year in the National Technology Awards.

What is clear, is this exciting partnership will transform the British rail industry. Hitachi and Hyperdrive are on the right tracks towards clean and sustainable rail travel.

How Asia is making the shift to sustainable transport

The shift to sustainable transport is gaining momentum across the world. Asia is taking huge steps in cleaning up its transport industry, here’s how…
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for a dramatic change in the mobility industry to sustainable transport. It is clear to see many countries and businesses are making this needed shift to e-mobility.

With Europe targeting the transport industry in their post-COVID-19 recovery, CleanTech News wanted to explore how other continents were following suit.

It comes as no shock that Asia, the world’s biggest continent, is taking key steps to clean up their transport industry. Here are some innovative examples showing how Asia is committed to a sustainable future…

EVs to transform the ‘backbone of Southeast Asia’s auto sector’
Electric vehicles (EVs) will reshape Thailand’s auto industry post-COVID-19. The pandemic is accelerating the transformation of Thailand’s automotive industry as it has highlighted the need for a switch to EVs.

Regarded as the ‘backbone of Southeast Asia’s auto sector’, Thailand’s auto-related businesses are reopening after months of coronavirus shutdowns. The industry, which employs 900,000 people in Thailand, is also promising relief for many laid-off workers.

Thailand appeared to be committed to sustainable transport before the coronavirus outbreak. The government targeted EV production, aiming for 750,000 vehicles by 2030 to curb pollution in the country.

Only last month, truck-chassis maker, Sammitr Group, received approval for a $170 million project. This project is to make 30,000 battery-powered vehicles a year in a joint venture with a Chinese company.

India’s rail electrification with Hitachi
Hitachi ABB power grid has won a ₹1.2 billion ($16.05 million) deal to supply transformers to Indian railways. The company will supply transformers to Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) for the production of 400 passenger and freight locomotive engines.

This deal will help the Indian government’s goal of 100% rail electrification, as well as reducing the countries carbon footprint. Hitachi will supply 6,531 kVA transformers for CLW’s goods locomotive engines and 7,775 kVA transformers for its passenger engines.

India’s railways are the single largest consumer of electricity in the country with a 2% share of national energy consumption.

Concerning the deal, N Venu, Managing Director of Hitachi ABB Power Grids India, has stated: “Railways are the backbone of environmentally-sustainable transport, and our pioneering technology will help successfully balanced energy expansion with the reduction of emissions”.

Volkswagen’s commitment to EVs in China
Volkswagen is going to focus on vehicle production in China, the world’s largest car manufacturer. The company is set to make electric vehicle production the centre of its post-pandemic strategy. This comes as the country has forecasted sales in the second half of the year would hit a similar level to 2019.

Stephan Wöllenstein, Volkswagen China’s Chief Executive, has said that almost all capacity to be added in the country would be for electric vehicles. Furthermore, the company are going to introduce a new battery-powered range in October.

With its leading position for plug-in hybrids in the country, Volkswagen wants to introduce its electric vehicle strategy.

This comes at an important time in China as the government has set an ambitious goal for 25% of new car sale to be battery-powered or plug-in hybrids by 2025.

Hong Kong’s new ‘Island’
Ponti Design Studio has designed a new electric tram to help citizens safely return to public transport after the height of coronavirus. Their autonomous tram concept, called Island, includes a radical interior design to help with social distancing on-board.

The new ‘Island’, aims to persuade people to move from private forms of transportation to public ones. As public transport is now less favoured in the light of the pandemic, Ponti Design Studio hope their design will solve this problem.

“The concept of social distancing, which limits people’s freedom to move and interact, became the design challenge and focal point for the new concept,” says Andrea Ponti, founder of Ponti Design Studio. “We shouldn’t be dividing and separating but instead rethinking public spaces with seamless, integrated and effective design approach”.

By incorporating electric and driver technology, this negates the need for an engine and driver, creating more space in the interior of the tram. This space makes it easier for customers to practice social distancing. As well as innovative interior design, trip payments will be made contactless via Hong Kong’s Octopus card system.

Ponti has also stated about their new tram design: “Island represents the forward-thinking spirit of Hong Kong, and introduced a new concept of public transport that overcomes the practice of social distancing. The idea of designing a tram is no coincidence: trams are one of the city’s landmarks and the tramways celebrate their 115th anniversary this year.”

More sustainability-focused goals in Asia
As well as all these exciting advancements, sustainability-focused goals do not end there in Asia. Singapore has set 2040 as the date for phasing out petrol vehicles. This paves the way for greater adoption of electric vehicles in the upcoming years.

Indonesia also has impressive sustainability targets. The country aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 29% from business as usual (BAU) emissions by 2030.

It is clear that the move to sustainable transport is gaining momentum worldwide and Asia, in particular, is taking huge steps in cleaning up its mobility industry.