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Digital Product Passports ‘will transform’ EV battery industry by enabling supply chain traceability

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Over 5 million BEVs will be sold with a Battery Digital Passport in Western Europe in 2027, where global manufacturers will have to start creating battery Life-Cycle Assessments (LCAs) by 2025. LCAs provide the critical information needed to generate Battery Passports.

That’s according to ABI Research, which says amid a growing demand for sustainable choices, businesses and consumers face challenges in making informed decisions due to data gaps in supply chains. The Digital Product Passport (DPP), pioneered by the European Union, aims to simplify this task. Between 2026 and 2027, DPPs will be first implemented in the greatest environmental impact product group, batteries & vehicles.

“The Digital Product Passport will be a game-changer promoting traceability, material and energy efficiency, and repair-based business models,” says Rithika Thomas, Sustainable Technologies Industry Analyst at ABI Research. The Battery Digital Passport is a digital twin of the battery, which stores information about the battery with a QR code, serial number, and supporting unique verification documents to demonstrate the circular flow of resources from raw mineral extraction to material production, manufacturing, operation, and recycling.  The battery passport aims to be a global one-stop verification for battery quality and responsible manufacturing.”

Successful DDPs rely on strategic data management across ecosystem players. Manufacturers must invest in robust tools for supply chain data and disclosures to unlock the full potential of DPPs. Initiatives like the Global Battery Alliance, with partners such as Audi and Tesla, along with Circularise, Circulor, Minespider, Minviro, and Siemens, prototype Battery Passports to enhance transparency in the battery value chain, reshaping the EV battery industry for a circular and sustainable future. As technology advances, secondary ecosystems, like the recycling market and second-life batteries, will thrive, offering significant carbon emissions advantages in applications such as stationary storage for photovoltaic systems, emergency power supplies, or power buffers for fast charging.

DPPs are an emerging technology within the circular economy framework. Diversifying data collection and applications in consumer goods, construction, apparel, and food sectors through solutions like those from  Avery Dennison, Kezzler, PSQR, 3E, Madaster, and Circuland expands long-term business opportunities. Using DPP for customer engagement and showcasing sustainability commitment ahead of product-specific regulations is crucial.

Detailed product information communicates a company’s dedication to sustainability, quality, regulations, and transparency. “DPP facilitates data collection, collaboration, and informed decision-making, optimizing production and identifying cost-saving and circularity opportunities. Recognized as powerful tools for transparency, digital product passports aggregate lifecycle information on a common platform. Proactive companies gain investment, customer acquisition, regulatory influence, transparency improvement, and operational compliance benefits through sustainability reporting and data transparency,” Thomas concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Digital Product Passports: Tech-Driven Sustainability and Traceability for EV Batteries, Construction Materials and Pilot Use Cases.

SSE Energy Solutions to build first electric HGV charging hub

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SSE Energy Solutions will build its first fully electric charging hub for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) at Tyseley Energy Park in Birmingham in the West Midlands.

The hub, located near the busy A45 in the east of the city, will accommodate up to four electric HGVs at a time and house powerful 360 kW chargers capable of dispensing up to 300 kilometres of charge within 1-2 hours, depending on the type and size of the vehicle and battery being charged.

With just 0.3% of HGVs on Britain’s roads currently electric, the project is a key milestone in SSE’s strategy to help decarbonise the road freight sector. It is estimated that diesel-run HGVs account for 17% of all road transport emissions in the UK despite making up just 5% of vehicles on its roads.

SSE has already partnered with a number of transport solutions and logistics businesses across the UK, including global logistics firm DHL, to accelerate the transition to battery-powered HGVs.

The company plans to build 500 ultra-rapid charging hubs for electric cars and commercial fleets powered by traceable, renewable energy in the UK and Ireland by 2030, with a number of sites already operational.

Established in 2010, Tyseley Energy Park is owned by the Webster and Horsfall Group and is home to the UK’s largest hydrogen refuelling station and a 10 MW waste-wood biomass power plant which generates enough electricity to power 17,000 homes.

SSE’s charging hub at the site will include a canopy which is to be formed from a combination of galvanised steel and sustainable timber and will incorporate a rainwater harvesting system to capture surface rainwater and irrigate a living green wall within the site. This means a living habitat for insects, bees, birds and bats.

Ben Brickwood, EV project development manager at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “The development of our first all-electric HGV charging hub at Tyseley Energy Park is a crucial step for SSE as we continue to enable the decarbonisation of Britain’s transport infrastructure and industries. Drawing on our expertise and experience with bus depot electrification and the roll out of EV passenger car hubs, this project demonstrates our commitment to accelerating the transition to electric for all vehicles and building the framework needed to support their rollout.

“We believe that through investments like this, and by working closely with partners like Webster and Horsfall, we can play a leading role in driving down transport emissions and building a net zero future in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.”

David Horsfall, Director of Property, Tyseley Energy Park, said: “We are delighted to welcome SSE to Tyseley Energy Park and see the launch of their ambitious new HGV charging hub. This will be an enormous boost for the area which was recently re-branded as the Green Energy Innovation Quarter for Birmingham. This first of a kind HGV charging station will complement the clean fuels already on offer at TEPs low and zero carbon refuelling station and is a major step forward in the region’s efforts to improve air quality and decarbonise.”

Why now is the time to transition your business to EVs

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By Nicola Mahmood, Business Development Director, Equans EV Solutions

As businesses across the UK look to play their part to support the governments net zero target of 2050 (1), EV adoption naturally becomes part of the conversation. That said, the first question often asked by businesses isn’t ‘should we invest in EV’, ‘but rather ‘when should we start investing in EV?’ – the answer to that question, in the simplest form, is now.

Currently, there are over 810,000 fully electric cars (2) on the UK’s roads – more than double the amount in 2021. Of this figure, 43,000 are vans – highlighting that many businesses are already driving forward the switch to EV.  In addition, ownership of electric commercial vehicles has also risen, with vans up some 67.3% (3). This signifies the increased demand for more sustainable transport, supporting the plans to accelerate a greener future for the transport sector.

In addition to the increased demand, the government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be enforced from 2030 in the UK. This may seem far into the future – however, the reality is that for many businesses, that’s likely just one, or two fleet replacement cycles. It’s now more important than ever to start the transition to EV, to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind.

Start small, scale up

If you operate a large-scale fleet, it would typically require significant upfront investment to transition your entire fleet to EV, which many businesses are likely not prepared for. However, it’s important to understand that EV infrastructure doesn’t need to be a single, outright investment. Transitioning to EV is completely scalable, and the solution you choose should be modular, meaning it can grow in line with business growth.

By starting small and scaling up, you will learn what works for your business and have the flexibility to change your strategy if needed. Having a tried and tested model will provide you with a proof of concept and evidence the feasibility of EV to your stakeholders, before making a large-scale investment and a full fleet transition. Adopting EV should be viewed as scalable programme that works around the demands of your business – not a one-time project.

What’s more, as the industry continues to grow, you will also benefit from developments in technology as you expand your infrastructure.

Invest now to reduce costs

The combination of an ever-increasing need for EVs and continued regulatory pressure, has in turn

created a surge in demand for EV infrastructure. In fact, statistics have shown that almost two-thirds of businesses (5) expect to operate a 100% electric fleet in the next four years. With that in mind, as we approach 2030, it’s highly likely that demand will significantly increase as businesses rush to get prepared.

Delaying your transition, or waiting until you are forced to switch could result in higher costs and longer lead times. When infrastructure demand increases, wait times for new grid connections will rise, infrastructure providers will have less capacity and charger demand will increase. By investing now, your business can get ahead and in turn, save valuable time and money in the future.

How to get it right the first time

In an attempt to start the process quickly, many businesses make the mistake of investing in electric vehicles before considering their overarching roadmap to EV. This often leads to an ineffective strategy that doesn’t support the needs of the business or fleet drivers. For the transition to EV to be seamless, businesses should look to start the EV infrastructure conversation first. This ensures your entire EV programme is built around your business operation, rather than as a reactive measure.

A good place to start is by mapping out your business and operational needs, in particular where your fleet vehicles are returned to once they’ve been on the road. For example, if your drivers return vehicles to a depot overnight, installing on-site charging is likely to be most suitable. However, if they return to base throughout the day and require a fast charge before their next route, then rapid charging should be taken into consideration. On the other hand, if your drivers take vehicles home at the end of the day, domestic charging may be considered. Or, you may find that a combination of the three works best to keep you fleet on the move in an optimal way.

Taking all of the operational factors of your business into consideration can be complex and many businesses are unsure where to start, which means they often don’t. This is where involving a charge point delivery partner in the early stages can prove beneficial. Your partner will support you to map out the needs of your fleet and business, including uptime, range, and routes, as well as your power availability and required capacity. Ensuring you get this right at the start will make your transition smoother, and reduce costs in the long run.

Now is the time to transition

It’s clear that the EV revolution is within reach. However, businesses who don’t consider adopting soon will face higher costs and significant delays. Involving a delivery partner in the early stages will help to ensure your solution is fully suitable and scalable, supporting the demands and needs of your business.

The benefits of adopting EV for businesses are endless from a reduced corporate carbon footprint, to cost savings via lower running costs. There are also various government funding initiatives and grants available to support your journey – meaning there’s never been a better time to switch.

Fortescue brings EV powertrain and battery production to Oxfordshire

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Fortescue is ‘significantly’ expanding its battery and electric powertrain and battery production operations in the UK via an additional facility in Oxfordshire that will create more than 120 jobs.

The expansion is part of Fortescue’s aim to grow its British presence through the recent integration of British manufacturers WAE (formerly Williams Advanced Engineering).

“With Fortescue’s investment, British engineering will be at the cutting edge of the green energy economy with WAE’s battery systems providing world leading technology to the entire global industrial sector,” said Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest. “It is heartening to have the UK’s Trade Secretary today at our factory in Oxfordshire to support this message of British technology excellence for both its people and its highly attractive working environment.”

Following entry-into-force of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Fortescue will open the new site this year in Banbury, significantly expanding its UK manufacturing capability, supplying advanced batteries and electric powertrains globally.

The new location will be focused on production of a wide range of zero-emission products for the off-road sector, including trucks and trains. It will form part of a new global business aimed at driving decarbonisation in all fields of economic activity, while building sovereign capabilities in emerging technology.

The factory will cover over 13,500m2 in total and employ over 120 highly skilled engineers, technicians, apprentices and graduates, with recruitment for the industrialisation programme starting now.

This announcement ensures Australia and the UK build sovereign capability in an area of central importance to future economic development and is another key win of the UK Government’s free trade agenda.

The integration follows Fortescue gearing up to meet growing global demand for the development, manufacture, and supply of advanced electrification technology solutions to the off-highway sector.

The first prototype build is targeted for July/August 2023 with the first mining haul truck module due for completion in August 2023.

IKEA commits £4.5m to EV fleet charging as part of Net Zero drive

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IKEA UK has made a £4.5million investment in a nationwide electric charging infrastructure, which will provide charging points for electric delivery vehicles across the country to enable more emissions-free deliveries. The new infrastructure will source energy entirely through renewable sources.

The retailer aims to reach 100% zero emissions deliveries to customers by 2025. By summer 2023, IKEA plans to achieve 60% zero emission deliveries in the UK and Ireland, which it was demonstrates the significant steps being taken to accelerate moving towards the 2025 goal.

IKEA itself will install 196 chargers, of which 53 will be rapid, providing full charge on vehicles in under an hour. The chargers will be located at IKEA stores across the country, as well as the new Dartford customer distribution centre due to open in spring 2023, with the first ones fitted and operational in IKEA Cardiff.

IKEA says the move is fundamental to allow to continue expanding the electric vehicle fleets being used to deliver to customers’ homes, with the ambition to reach over 500 by 2025, with the charging points will be used by both IKEA and partner electric vehicles.

This infrastructure is being implemented in addition to the existing customer charging points in IKEA stores. Our customer charging points are available for customers to use during their visit to IKEA, the points were introduced to provide access to more sustainable travel for customers. With the introduction of a home delivery infrastructure, IKEA is building a complete offer for customers to have IKEA products arrive sustainably to their homes, no matter how they choose to shop.

Jakob Bertilsson, Country Customer Fulfilment Manager at IKEA UK & Ireland, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at IKEA, and we are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the planet while supporting our customers to live more sustainable lives at home.

“Investing in this infrastructure of nationwide charging points is a fundamental step in our ambition to reach 100% zero emissions customer deliveries from all IKEA stores and distribution centres by 2025, as well as supporting our ambition to become a climate positive business by 2030.

Natasha Fry, Head of Sales at Mer UK said: “IKEA is an iconic brand with a recognised commitment to sustainability. When they needed future-proof charge points for their zero-emission, last-mile fleet, they wanted to work with a partner who shares these ambitions.

“We look forward to supporting the IKEA team and, importantly, its customers in making sure last-mile deliveries are efficient and emission free.”

Energy innovations driving big changes in automotive design

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Energy innovations, technological advances, societal tastes, environmental concerns, and changing emission regulations are prompting the automotive industry to change the way vehicles are designed and built.

Against the backdrop, automakers are gearing up to improve fuel efficiency, control car emissions, offer greater safety benefits, higher customer differentiation, and minimize costs and supply chain risk, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “A growing wave of technology-driven megatrends around ‘connected cars, autonomous driving, shared mobility, and electric vehicles’ (CASE) framework is already creating a shift towards the car of tomorrow. The next three to five years will see a diverse range of innovative headwinds shifting the dimensions of mobility toward new horizons.”

Shagun Sachdeva, Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “The shift in the auto industry is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of technological disruptions in 2023 and beyond. AI, IoT, cybersecurity, big data and robotics, among other technologies, will not only change the future of mobility, but also enable automakers to become more resilient, reliable, scalable, and innovative.”

GlobalData’s FutureTech Series report, “Computer on Wheels – Key Disruptive Forces in Automotive,” highlights over 50 disruptive forces driving tech transformation in the automotive industry as emerging, accelerating, and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) networks offer bi-directional charging and enable the transfer of electricity back to the grid. V2G technology is sustainable as it allows batteries to get charged during renewable energy production phases which makes it possible to consume mainly green energy. In December 2022, Toyota Motor North America and Oncor Electric Delivery collaborated to research and demonstrate the benefits of V2G technology.

Gesture sensing AR/VR interfaces provide a hands-free way to interact with the vehicle systems, help drivers with situational awareness by warning them of road hazards and displaying other similar alerts, allowing them to react quickly and avoid accidents. They offer enhanced driving experience, blind-spot visibility, and convenience as well as safety. In May 2022, Volkswagen and Microsoft announced a partnership to create a new moving platform feature for the HoloLens 2, designed to let the augmented reality headset work in places such as moving vehicles.

Plasma-jet ignition replaces traditional spark plugs and allows for a much wider range of fuel mixtures and operating conditions for automakers such as burning extremely lean mixtures at lower temperatures to produce less NOx. In June 2022, Transient Plasma Systems (TPS) demonstrated an ignition module that uses nanosecond pulses of plasma to ignite the air-fuel mixture within the engine’s cylinders.

Graphene batteries are more economical, scalable, sustainable, and allow faster charging as they offer higher electrical conductivity than lithium-ion batteries. In December 2022, NASA announced that it is testing a new graphene battery with an improved power density that can be used in aviation and EVs.

Sachdeva concluded: “While automakers remain focused on addressing the critical challenges right from pandemic-driven shortages, supply chain bottlenecks to rising commodity prices and uncertain consumer demand, the automotive industry is witnessing a rebound.

“However, in the face of global geopolitical instability, record-high inflation, rising commodity costs, massive lay-offs, the looming fear of potential recession, automakers will need to reassess their strategy to address shortages such as semiconductors, retool their offerings and realign their business models to remain stable in the rapidly evolving mobility ecosystem.”

The necessity of building a sustainable fleet and optimising investment

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By André Dias, CTO and Founder, Daloop

At the beginning of this year, data suggested that 2021 saw a 4.5% drop in fleet and business new car registrations. And yet, despite this overall fall, last year recorded historic Electric Vehicle (EV) uptake within fleets and businesses, with more registrations in 2021 than in the previous five years combined.

In 2022, EV sales continue to grow, and we have witnessed new government commitments including the target of developing over 300,000 charge points across the UK by 2030. With the sale of new combustion engine vehicles set to cease in 2030, it is vital that businesses develop an EV transition plan, with the benefits of doing so far outweighing any downsides.

Future proof your organisation

Across the western world, pressure is increasing on organisations to become sustainable. Recent studies show that consumers have become increasingly eco-conscious, while governments continue to pass laws in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants from further harming our planet.

The transportation sector, which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, and boats, is one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 37% of CO2 emissions from end‐use sectors. Organisations clearly have a huge role to play in reducing this figure.

With sales of combustion engine vehicles set to end in the UK, EU, and US by 2035, the onus is on businesses as well as local councils to begin to strategize ways to adopt carbon-neutral vehicles. Of course, this will be a gradual step and dependent on each organisation’s strategy and industry trends, with some industries naturally having an easier transition than others.

A recent study found that 83% of large commercial fleet operators cited environmental benefits as a top motivation for electrifying fleets. The general feeling is that change is afoot, with governmental and consumer pressure adding to the many reasons for transitioning to carbon neutral mobility. By doing so, organisations can solidify their reputation as being socially responsible and environmentally compliant and ensure that they reduce the risk of falling foul of any potential future environmental regulations.

Financially, it makes sense

With the current cost of living crisis affecting the global population, concerns have arisen as to whether many will be able to afford the investment into EVs, especially as incentives are slowly withdrawn. However, from a financial perspective, EVs are a worthy expenditure.

Firstly, reports have shown that despite rising energy costs, it remains far cheaper to charge an EV than to fill up a tank of petrol with electricity prices remaining lower than the cost of petrol. Alongside this, the increasing investment and proliferation of charge point infrastructure allows fleet managers to choose the charger or vehicle that best fits their organisation and employees’ needs and budgets.

In preparation for fleet electrification, there are many online resources allowing businesses to decipher key data such as how much CO2 their fleet currently emits, or the potential tax savings of electrifying their fleet. Here at Daloop, we recently launched our EV charge point calculator, helping organisations to calculate the number of charge points needed in staff car parks through a simple formula using staff numbers and fleet management estimates, such as the percentage of staff using a personal vehicle and those who have access to home charging. These tools reiterate the innovations leading to cost-savings associated with electric mobility.

Implementing an EV charging infrastructure, especially for consumer-facing businesses such as retailers and leisure companies, can also be monetised to create a new income stream. Not only this, but EV charging facilities encourage customers to stay longer in-store or on-site, potentially leading to for higher customer spending. For businesses in other sectors, installing local charging infrastructure can create further revenue through also create revenue through energy optimisation schemes.

While some have been scrapped – most notably the plug-in grant – financial incentives remain to electrify fleets. In the UK, electric mobility is currently exempt from annual road tax and the workplace charging scheme is still in operation (in which businesses can subsidise staff charge point installation with a government grant).  Meanwhile, for London-based fleets, EVs are eligible for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount.

Optimising investment

A growing number of businesses are considering or have already started electrifying their fleets. This will only continue as confidence grows, which will naturally take place as more people join the transition and EV infrastructure expands.

But for any business that transitions to an electrified fleet, data-driven supervision is essential. To truly optimise their investment, it is beneficial to have an intelligent software solution that can link vehicles, charge points, the electric grid, and the driver to ensure maximum control, confidence, and oversight.

Having a data-driven management platform enables fleet managers to prioritise charge points in offices and depots for commercial vehicles, meaning that these vehicles have enough journey charge on any given day. It can also ensure that they optimise energy usage, providing businesses with the means to continue making the best financial decisions for their fleet long after the initial transition.

The software that fleet managers and businesses use to manage their operations during and after their electric transition is just as essential in keeping their vehicles operational as the charge points themselves. With the correct, data-driven approach, the EV transition can be a seamless and valuable choice for any individual or business without compromising on either efficiency or costs.

With new technologies and infrastructural improvements, continued emission reduction legislation, and the many financial and environmental benefits, transitioning to an electric fleet is becoming easier and EV anxiety is fading. Fleet electrification is no longer simply desirable – it has become inevitable.

Connecting EV batteries to national grid ‘key to solving the energy crisis’

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To solve the energy crisis and green the grid, we need to massively ramp up battery storage to help power the national and international grid; the successful trials of ‘Vehicle to Grid’ technology proves that electric vehicles (EVs) could do just that.

That’s the view of Aidan McClean (pictured), CEO of UFODRIVE and author of ‘Electric Revolution’ following a successful UK trial of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology connected the dots between an efficient, on-demand energy grid and the rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). Drivers in Milton Keynes were given this technology, and at peak times were able to sell energy back –from their cars to either power their homes or the grid at large.

Through charging the vehicle during periods of low energy cost, such as at night, and powering the national grid or home during periods of high cost, users reduced energy costs by at least 40%, some to zero. Furthermore, charging the car during periods of high renewables generation and powering the home during fossil fuel generation (when renewable sources aren’t producing) allowed for reductions in carbon emissions of at least 25%, with some achieving 100% when timed correctly.

At a similar time, an Open Letter to the European Commission was penned by major market leaders in battery storage technologies. It argued that Europe’s net zero, geopolitically-independent energy goals, summed up in the REpowerEU plan, require a huge increase in battery storage infrastructure.

This letter argues that a renewable-powered grid needs a backup energy source when the sun isn’t shining or the wind blowing. Traditionally, this may have been gas, but this is now clearly not feasible due to the EU’s over-reliance on Russian gas supplies.

EVs help to power a more flexible energy grid

Here, the dots seem intrinsically connected: EVs could help achieve this flexible, cheap, and independent on-demand energy grid. According to Virta Global, there will be 140-240 million electric vehicles globally by 2030, which means that we’ll have at least 140 million small, portable energy storage batteries on wheels with an aggregated storage capacity of 7 TWh, or 7000 GWh.

In 2021, only 2.4 GW of storage was developed in Europe, but various studies predict we’ll need around 200 GW of energystorage by 2030; so there clearly needs to be a significant increase in battery storage capacity. Yet when you combine the numbers, you can see that even just a small percentage of EVs with V2G potential could provide the increase in battery storage that we need.

McClean says: “The V2G trials were a blinding success – and show both how flexible and useful EV batteries can be. With proper infrastructure and market rules, ensured by effective top-down policy, they could not only massively reduce pollution from our roads but also be the plan B energysource our grid needs to ensure capacity.

“This effectively combats one of the biggest issues renewables have when used as a primary energy source – there are extended periods when production is zero, such as on still days or dark nights. We used to combat this issue with natural gas – but not only is this still polluting, but also is geopolitically tenuous to say the least.

Developing efficient vehicle-to-grid infrastructure

Aidan continues: “The answers to this problem have always been numerous and obvious, if difficult to implement at-large; battery storage, efficient grid management, supply-side control, demand-side response, and pumped hydroelectric storage are all essential. We will need to use all of these en-masse to futureproof and green our energy grid.

“However, an obvious solution has been staring us in the face: if every EV battery by 2030 could plug into and power the grid or someone’s home, Europe would have more battery storage capacity than it could ever need.

“This still needs some work, however. At the moment, not all EVs offer a vehicle to grid option. For example, Teslas don’t yet have this capability and occasionally have declined to consider implementing it – as it could be argued that vehicle to the grid would compete with Tesla’s own Powerwall business. This must change if we want to achieve an effective net zero grid – we need unified technologies to provide solutions, not a spitefully fragmented market.

“As is so often the case – a lack of top-down policy, and a lack of care for universal accessibility by current titans of industry, is holding us back from an efficient V2G solution. We need clear, unified and brave public policy; and accessible and universal manufacturing standards; in order to embrace the technologies that are so clearly the answer to some of our biggest problems”.

Veolia uses hydrotreated vegetable oil for first renewable fleet

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Broadland District Council’s latest contract for all waste collection services including residual, recycling and food waste and for street cleaning with Veolia will see the FM specialist utilise a renewably-fuelled fleet for the first time.

The 10 year contract that started in April 2022 has an option for an extension of up to a further 10 years.

Reducing energy consumption and reaching carbon neutrality is essential for combating climate change and the new contract includes a commitment to reduce operational emissions and to develop low carbon solutions. This supports Broadland District Council’s priority to protect the environment and for continuous environmental improvement.

Every vehicle in the fleet is fully powered by Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a bio-based liquid fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats. HVO is a low carbon, low emission, fossil-free and sustainable alternative to conventional fossil diesel which eliminates up to 90% of net CO2 and reduces nitrogen oxide (NOX), particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.

HVO fuel is fully interchangeable with conventional diesel and can be used pure or blended with fossil diesel if required. The fleet in the Broadland district will be solely powered by HVO in a first for Veolia in the UK.

Councillor Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for Environmental Excellence, said: “We’re very pleased to be continuing our very successful working relationship with Veolia through the award of this major new contract. The contract brings together an excellent service for residents with innovative new approaches which will help to make our waste and recycling services more effective and even more environmentally friendly. This new contract will help drive us towards our aim of being carbon neutral well ahead of the Government’s 2050 target.”

Pascal Hauret, Managing Director Municipal, Veolia UK said: “We’re delighted to launch our first fully HVO powered fleet in Broadland. HVO significantly reduces CO2 emissions so this is a hugely positive step in our shared commitment to net zero. Importantly, whilst the availability of HVO is still limited in the UK, Veolia has secured a guaranteed supply for the entire contract term.”

The new contract also offers residents an enhanced service with the introduction of weekly kerbside collections of small electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and textile collections.

The Council will continue to roll out food waste collections and will now be able to achieve its goal of food waste collections to all Broadland residents in 2023.

Environmental Audit Committee issues warning over gigafactories

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Reaching the UK’s ambition to host a further five ‘gigafactories’ to produce batteries for electric vehicles could reach a road block unless Government backing increases, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned.

While 2021 has seen welcome announcements, with gigafactories planned for the North East — in Blyth and on Wearside — and proposed in the West Midlands, the Committee asserts a further 100GWh of gigafactory capacity is needed to meet ambitions for the production of battery electric vehicles in the UK for sale on the domestic and EU markets.

Gigafactories are a significant enterprise, costing between £2 billion and £4 billion to establish. The Committee heard evidence that typically, other governments are supporting factories with £750 million per plant. The Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund – at £500 million – is expected to support the establishment of subsequent gigafactories, but appear insufficient to support the establishment of any further plants, let alone the additional five estimated to be required by 2027.

The Committee is clear that the UK, with its strong automotive base and innovative clusters across the country, has a golden opportunity to attract factories manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.

Plans to source lithium in Cornwall will enhance the UK’s potential advantage in the production of batteries and will contribute to building a sustainable supply chain.

However, the UK will remain reliant for the bulk of its critical raw materials on suppliers from third countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where significant concerns have been raised about the way in which these materials are being extracted.

The Committee urges the Government to consider a critical raw materials strategy to manage issues effectively, such as supply interruption, to ensure that we have sufficient raw materials to be used in batteries manufactured in the UK.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said: “Recent announcements of plans to build gigafactories for electric vehicle batteries in the UK are clearly welcome; bringing together the UK’s strengths in automotive manufacturing and low carbon innovation. We applaud this, as well as the Government’s collaboration with industry on this issue, which should secure the future of many thousands of jobs in the automotive sector.

“But to meet net zero Britain we still need to take it up a gear. If we are to continue manufacturing vehicles to sell into the EU and UK at our current rate, the industry estimates we will need five more gigafactories up and running by 2027. We doubt the £500 million Government funding left in reserve for automotive transformation will be sufficient to secure the additional 100GWh of gigafactory output needed for the UK electric vehicle sector to reach its full potential. Without further government support, establishment of the battery electric vehicle sector in the UK, critical to maintain our auto industry supply chain, will reach a dead end.

“We already know we have thriving clusters well equipped to host gigafactories – but the UK’s potential extends beyond simply manufacturing. Lithium — a crucial component for electric vehicle batteries — has been found in Cornwall. Extracting this crucial raw material in a sustainable way at scale could extend the UK’s supply chain and support the shift to electric vehicles.”

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