Corporations in the auto industry, battery manufacturing and mining have joined forces to establish reliable due diligence reporting on raw minerals. Volvo will be among the first to move on the issue by putting its cobalt supply chain under scrutiny early next year.
A project on Isabela Island in Ecuador’s Galapagos archipelago has given its 3,500 inhabitants energy generated by local resources, including plant oil produced on the continent. Preferable to a logistically challenging and hyper expensive extension of the mainland grid, if the $13 million island system were installed today, it would be cheaper than when it was contracted four years ago.
Amid high hopes for the European Commission presidency that is about to start, attendees at a recent event in Berlin tempered optimism by renewing calls for an industrial policy for the bloc.
TES issued a press release announcing the new facilities that is light on detail but claimed the plants would position it as ‘a leader’ in battery recycling. The company also announced an intent to move into the reuse of spent electric vehicle batteries in commercial and residential applications.
Scientists at Princeton have found solar and wind energy offer the added environmental benefit of reducing water usage, by comparison with hydroelectric dams. Their findings, say the researchers, could have a positive impact on groundwater sustainability in drought-prone regions such as California, where they conducted a case study.
The European Solar Manufacturing Council says a decision by policymakers to disregard the carbon footprint of imported solar products ‘makes absolutely no sense’. Talk of ‘jobs which require a rather low qualification’, meanwhile, is unlikely to heal the widening rift with solar project developers and panel installers.
Opinion is divided over the urgency of addressing the issue. While some developers feel the 25-year lifetime of modules offers plenty of time to prepare an action plan, other industry voices claim Indian-made products don’t last half that long and one recent report pointed out waste is already piling up thanks to defects and faulty installation.
The recycling market will experience a tenfold expansion between last year and 2030, driven by EV battery usage and portable electronics. Retrieving valuable metals and minerals is becoming a high priority and several dozen companies are already in position for the first big wave of end-of-life batteries.
Lead plays an important role in crystalline silicon module manufacturing when it comes to cell interconnection. But even in small amounts, the presence of this toxic material in a PV module could be viewed as a black mark against the industry’s sustainable credentials. Alternatives are available, but it seems the price is not yet right for broader uptake.
Although PV trails wind and nuclear in terms of its anticipated future footprint, the opposition party’s attempt to outflank left of center rivals on climate change has resulted in one of the world’s most ambitious national roadmaps towards a zero-carbon future.
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