Weekend reads: Discovering Amazon's EV company; The woman at the helm of Biden's climate plan - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 3, 2021

Weekend reads: Minneapolis breaks ground on geothermal project; Commodifying carbon capture

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

‘Big Storage’ Is the Next Big Technology in the Climate Fight (Bloomberg) If the last 10 years of happy developments in solar power, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles have taught us anything, it's to plan for carbon-free technologies that are unavailable today. They could come tomorrow. Such is the case with a coterie of hopefuls that travel under the name long-duration energy storage. We can call it Big Storage—the ability to bank lots of power for when it’s needed most. By contrast, it’s Little Storage that has earned all the headlines in recent years. The lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, phones, and electric vehicles have also gained a foothold in the grid itself, as some utilities invest in short-term energy storage either for backup or to smooth out periods when wind turbines don’t turn and solar arrays go dark. Utilities installed 987 megawatts of energy storage in 2017, surged to 3.5 gigawatts in 2020, and are projected to put in 10.2 gigawatts in 2023, according to BloombergNEF.

Biden calls for massive climate and transit package (Axios) President Biden is asking Congress to approve hundreds of billions of dollars to remake transit, overhaul power grids and expand clean energy in a sweeping plan the White House says will fight climate change while outcompeting China. Why it matters: The plan, if enacted, would be the most far-reaching federal investment to date in programs that would help curb greenhouse gas emissions. But it faces serious challenges in the closely divided Congress. It signals Biden's high priority on fighting global warming while addressing racial and economic inequality.

This machine in Texas could suck up companies’ carbon emissions — if they pay (Grist) To burnish their green credentials, companies have long paid to plant trees or protect forests in the hopes that nature will absorb their greenhouse gas emissions. Shopify, the Canadian company that runs e-commerce sites, wants to take a more hands-on approach — by paying a Texas venture to pull carbon dioxide from the sky and store it underground. Shopify struck a deal this month with Carbon Engineering, which is about to start building a sprawling “direct air capture” facility in West Texas with its partner 1PointFive. Their plant, expected to be the largest of its kind, will use huge fans to draw in air and churn out pure CO2. Shopify has agreed to “buy” 10,000 metric tons of the gas that will be permanently sequestered in deep rock formations.

Harvard Researchers Develop Cheaper Method For Renewable Energy Storage (The Harvard Crimson) In a step forward for renewable energy storage, researchers in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology have accomplished the continuous splitting of impure water into pure hydrogen and oxygen gas by leveraging a process called forward osmosis, according to an article published earlier this month. The article, titled “Continuous electrochemical water splitting from natural water sources via forward osmosis,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 2. In the paper, Samuel S. Veroneau, first author and a Chemistry Ph.D. candidate, and Daniel G. Nocera, a professor in the department widely known for his work on renewable energy, outline their use of forward osmosis and electrochemical water splitting to generate hydrogen gas, which is effective in storing renewable energy.

First look at 'River Green Power,' a six-acre green energy hub for Long Island City (Urbanize) Over the past 40 years, New York City has spent over $45 billion to improve the water quality of the East River, adding new wastewater treatment plants and green infrastructure to reduce runoff. However, the river still sees roughly five billion gallons of sewage and garbage flowing through its waters annually. Bruce Teitelbaum, the general partner of RiverLinC, has proposed a productive use for this toxic stream — turn green sludge into green energy. Teitelbaum wants to build an eco-friendly power plant in Long Island City dubbed “River Green Power.” The River Green Project would use the East River, solar, and geothermal power to provide electricity.

Groundbreaking low-carbon geothermal project might emerge in Prospect Park (MinnPost) The drilling came to an abrupt halt on the eastern edge of Minneapolis last Monday when the crew blew a hose. The engineers were drilling down through the layer of sandstone to reach the underground Shakopee and Jordan aquifers, in the hopes of pioneering a new energy system that could be a leap forward for decarbonizing Twin Cities homes. Though the drilling rig stood a good 25’ high, it was still dwarfed by the massive abandoned grain silos that have long stood sentry over this overlooked part of town. Dubbed the Towerside district, the triangle of land along the BNSF rail yard between the Surly Brewery, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis’ Prospect Park neighborhood might soon be one of the most energy efficient communities in the state.

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