The environmental cost of electric vehicles

The environmental cost of electric vehicles

 The environmental cost of electric vehicles by Athra Khamis is apart from its very topic, quite an eye-opener on the current atmosphere that is prevailing in the MENA’s Gulf area.  


The environmental cost of electric vehicles


June 29, 2022

“Get an electric vehicle!” This might be the first idea that comes to mind when considering how to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transportation at the community level. Fossil fuels are widely recognized as a significant source of emissions due to the large amount of CO2 they produce when burned, but what about the emissions associated with electric vehicles (EVs)?

Globally, people have shifted toward electric cars in an effort to “go green” and support the universal goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C, as called for in the United Nations’ Paris Agreement. Additionally, the World Bank Group has advocated for the decarbonization of the energy and transport sectors by halting investments in upstream oil and gas (2019), and pledging to invest 50% of climate finance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in interventions that help to build resilience, guided by regional and country-specific demand.

In line with these goals, governments in the MENA region have been motivated to encourage their populations to purchase EVs instead of conventional ones that run on gasoline. The UAE, for instance, has launched a regulatory policy for EV charging infrastructure and established the “EV Green Charger Initiative,” a free network of charging stations across the country. As a result, the popularity of EVs in Dubai has risen over the last seven years, with the total number in operation increasing from just 71 to 5,107. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen similar growth and is currently ranked in the top 50 countries worldwide according to the AlixPartners Automotive Electrification index, indicating 36% growth in the sale of EVs.

If the increasing popularity and demand for EVs is driven by a consumer and state-level desire to reduce CO2 emissions, it’s important to understand that they store and consume electricity that was generated from other sources, including fossil fuels and natural gas.

The MENA region is actively working on an energy transition plan that shifts away from fossil fuels, oil, and natural gas, all of which still account for the majority of energy generation portfolios for countries across the region. For example, until 2020, renewable energy and low-carbon sources accounted for less than 1% of total energy generation in Saudi Arabia, meaning EVs in the country likely relied overwhelmingly on fossil fuel-generated electricity. This is also the case in Morocco, often regarded as the region’s climate leader, even though renewables account for just two-fifths of the nation’s electricity capacity. So, the question becomes: Are EVs really as “green” and as environmentally friendly as their reputation suggests?

Regional governments are undertaking extensive efforts to shift energy production toward environmentally cleaner technologies for the benefit of both the climate and public health, but how quickly is that initiative progressing? What is a realistic timeline for green and renewable technologies (e.g., wind and solar) to become the dominant source of energy generation? And in the meantime, how should the international community view their environmental credentials?

The “green” reputation of EVs seemingly disregards the environmental impact of producing them, especially the key component that enables them to store electricity: their batteries. These batteries are manufactured from various metals that must be mined. For instance, lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion), considered the top of the line for EVs and used by Tesla, require a number of metals besides lithium, such as cobalt, nickel, manganese, and copper.

The mining of these components comes with environmental concerns. In the long term, does the earth hold enough of these minerals and materials to support a full global shift to EVs? In the short term, the rapid increase in demand for batteries has created a new challenge of ensuring an adequate supply of natural resources. Some of these materials are already in short supply, due to supply chain issues associated with the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This creates an artificial shortage and gives rise to opportunistic price gouging, whereby car dealerships are selling EVs at double their list price while manufacturers are heavily reducing their production.

Putting the price and supply dynamics aside, manufacturing these vehicles creates a tremendous environmental burden, as the process requires digging up and processing around 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust to produce one battery.

While there is a broad range of lithium extraction methods available, the primary ones —including hard-rock mining and extraction of lithium from brine water — require large amounts of energy. These processes disturb the natural water table, local biodiversity, and the ecosystem of nearby communities. For example, nickel mining and refining practices have already resulted in documented damage to freshwater and marine ecosystems in Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia.

Pollution from these operations not only impacts oceans and ecosystems but also induces environmental hazards throughout the battery lifecycle from mining materials for their production to disposing of old batteries at landfills, creating health risks for workers and affecting nearby communities due to the toxicity of heavy metals such as lithium.

Taking these issues into consideration, just how much do EVs really limit overall emissions? And are they a path to net-zero emissions for the MENA region? Considering the environmental costs of EV production and usage, it might be more prudent for regional governments to first prioritize and achieve sustainable energy transitions before fully advocating for the use of EVs.

 

Athra Khamis is a Non-Resident Scholar with the Climate and Water Program at the Middle East Institute. Her areas of expertise include climate change scenarios, atmospheric composition, water resource analysis, environmental ecosystems, and sustainability.

The above featured image is a Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images

MEI is an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit, educational organization. It does not engage in advocacy and its scholars’ opinions are their own. MEI welcomes financial donations, but retains sole editorial control over its work and its publications reflect only the authors’ views. For a listing of MEI donors, please click here.

Here’re Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide

Here’re Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide

Here are some unique use of Solar Technologies worldwide proposed by TWC India Edit Team.

Solar Appreciation Day 2022: Here’re Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide to Combat Energy Crisis

India’s budget for FY2022-23 clearly highlights the country’s priority to double down for ‘green’ and renewable energy, particularly solar, to combat climate change and meet the emission reduction targets set for 2030.

Moreover, as the Ukraine-Russia war continues, coal and natural gas prices are surging sharply across the globe. With the soaring power bills, several European and Asian countries are seeking alternatives to Russian supplies. And using technologies based on solar energy is a comparative quick fix to the energy crisis.

Meanwhile, Solar Appreciation Day 2022 is here, which is celebrated globally on every second Friday of March. The day has become all the more significant amid the ongoing climate and energy crisis. On this day, here are some unique solar technologies that demonstrate the immense potential of solar technologies to address the needs of the modern world.

Solar trolley invented by a farmer from Haryana

Pradeep Kumar, a farmer from Haryana, has built a mobile solar plant with panels mounted on a trolley that can be moved on demand. The trolley is custom made as per the user’s requirements.

In an interview with The Better India, Pradeep said, “the devices come in two sizes and carry solar panels which provide electricity of 2 HP and 10 HP. The trolley can also be mounted to the back of a tractor and has sturdy wheels that allow it to move over uneven surfaces.”

The cost-effective technology has benefitted over 2000 farmers so far.

Bihar’s floating solar power plant

The Mithila region in North Bihar is called the ‘Land of Ponds’ and is taking complete advantage of its gift. A floating solar plant is set to be commissioned in the region, consisting of 4,004 solar modules. Each module lodged in a pond can generate 505-megawatt peak (MWp) electricity and nearly 2 MW of green and clean energy. The plant can supply electricity to 10,000 people in the state.

The main benefit of a floating solar power plant is that the water cools the solar panels, ensuring their efficiency when temperatures rise, resulting in increased power generation. It also minimises evoporation of freshwater and aids fishery.

This innovation has hit two birds with one stone: producing green energy from solar panels and promoting fish farming underwater.

South Korea’s solar shade

In South Korea, a highway runs between Daejon and Sejong and its entire bike lane on the 32 km stretch is covered with solar roof panels. Not only do they generate sufficient electricity, but they also isolate cyclists from traffic and protect them from the sun.

The two-way bike lane is constructed right in the middle of the road, while there are three other lanes for vehicles to travel on either side. This also obstructs the high beam lights of oncoming cars.

Using the technology, the country can intern produce clean, renewable energy.

Solar-powered desalination technique by Chinese and American researchers

Desalination process is considered to be among the most energy-intensive activities. Now researchers have developed a solar desalination process that can treat contaminated water and generate steam for sterilizing medical instruments without requiring any power source other than sunlight itself.

The design includes a dark material that absorbs the sun’s heat and a thin water layer above a perforated material that sits atop a deep reservoir of salty water such as a tank or a pond. The holes allow for a natural convective circulation between the warmer upper layer of water and the colder reservoir below and draw the salt from the water.

Not only is the solar-powered desalination method efficient but also highly cost-effective.

Saudi Arabia’s goal of sustainable development using solar technology

Here're Some Unique Use of Solar Technologies Worldwide
FILE PHOTO: A solar plant is seen in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Dry-climate arid regions are prone to droughts and often face water scarcity. While local food production would have been a distant dream for countries that host mostly deserts, scientists in Saudi Arabia have developed a unique solution using solar technology.

In an experiment, they designed a solar-driven system that could successfully cultivate spinach using water drawn from the air while producing electricity. This proof-of-concept design has demonstrated a sustainable, low-cost strategy to improve food and water security for people living in dry-climate regions.

“Our goal is to create an integrated system of clean energy, water, and food production, especially the water-creation part in our design, which sets us apart from current agrophotovoltaics,” says senior researcher Peng Wang.

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The top image is for illustration and is of a Solar power plant (IANS)

Renewables Market to Expand Robustly in 2021

Renewables Market to Expand Robustly in 2021

Renewables Market to Expand Robustly in 2021 by Nidhi is published on MW Creators of 4 December 2021. Some details of this renewables market particularly amongst certain MENA nations are reviewed and found to Expand Robustly in 2021. Excerpts are below.

The above image is for illustration and is of Enterprise as related to the same topic.

It is the Latest Study on the Industrial Growth of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Renewables Market 2021-2027.

A detailed study accumulated to offer Latest insights about acute features of the MENA’s Renewables market. The report contains different market predictions related to revenue size, production, CAGR, Consumption, gross margin, price, and other substantial factors. While emphasizing the key driving and restraining forces for this market, the report also offers a complete study of the future trends and developments of the market. It also examines the role of the leading market players involved in the industry including their corporate overview, financial summary and SWOT analysis.

Get customization & check discount for report @ https://www.htfmarketreport.com/request-discount/2909324-middle-east-and-north-africa-2

Summary

The report provides a comprehensive review of the trends, opportunities and challenges in Middle East’s fast-changing renewable energy sector. Updated in April 2020 to reflect the huge disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the report looks at the immediate impact of the virus on the regional energy market, and its impact on the region’s ambitious plans to develop solar, wind and waste-to-energy projects in the region. The report looks at the long-term investment plans as well as the current project opportunities planned or under development across the region.

Mena Renewables 2020 with Covid-19 update is the latest premium market report from MEED, the leading provider of Middle East business intelligence.

The report provides a comprehensive country-by-country review of the renewable energy sector across the Mena region with in-depth analysis of projected investments, policy and legislative frameworks, and the projects planned and under way.

It also details the key government bodies driving the development of renewables in each country.

Written by MEED, the Middle East market experts within the HTF MI Group, the report is a valuable asset for anyone seeking to do business in the Middle East’s energy sector that will help in shaping business development and strategy in the region.

Updated in April 2020, the report looks at the impact of Covid-19 on the renewable energy sector in the Middle East and North Africa, and what that means for business and investment in the region.

Middle East renewable energy ambitions face new challenges

The de-facto shutdown of much of the global economy in the first four months of 2020 caused by measures to stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) is challenging many of the drivers of business growth and investment in the Middle East and North Africa. The collapse of oil prices and fall in tourism and consumer spending has raised deep questions about some of the region’s highest growth sectors.

One sector that shows no sign of disappearing is renewables. While the supply chain for projects has been disrupted, and the commercial model for privately finance power plants has been upset, the region remains committed to diversifying is energy sources and lowering its costs through renewables.

With about 28GW of renewable energy production capacity installed across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), of which by far the biggest component is hydropower with 21GW, renewable energy represents only 7 per cent of the region’s power generation capacity. But with electricity demand rising at about 5 per cent a year, and with a shortage of readily available natural gas supplies, expanding renewables capacity is now one of the top policy priorities for governments in the region.

Boosted by falling technology costs and the drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, most countries are planning and procuring solar and wind projects. Across the region, governments have set ambitious clean energy targets, with Dubai the most aggressive, aiming for 75 per cent of its energy to come from clean sources by 2050. At the start of 2020, about 98GW of new renewable energy generation capacity was planned across the region, with 39GW of additional capacity due to come on stream by 2025.

The latest edition of Abu Dhabi’s World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in January 2020, highlighted the strides that have been taken in the region, and particularly by the UAE, to play a leading role in the transition from unsustainable carbon-production to sustainable renewable energy.

Completion of the GCC’s first utility-scale renewables projects has increased confidence among governments, developers and financiers. This has reduced the cost of financing and delivering projects. The market also expects greater adoption of small and medium-scale schemes such as rooftop solar.

At present, it is countries with hydropower capabilities that have the highest renewables capacity. The landscape is changing rapidly however as a series of large-scale solar and wind projects are being delivered. But as renewables move from the fringes to the centre of the region’s energy eco-system, regulators, investors and consumers must overcome several structural and technical obstacles.

Regulatory reform is the biggest challenge facing renewables. Merging renewable energy, primarily photovoltaic solar power, into power grids requires policy adjustments and new regulations. This includes ensuring grid flexibility and stability, integrating new technologies such as battery-storage and electric vehicles, and establishing commercially-attractive business models. Another challenge is to break the link between electricity and water production that is hard-coded into the region’s utilities.

Request a sample report @ https://www.htfmarketreport.com/sample-report/2909324-middle-east-and-north-africa-2

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Accelerated renewables-based electrification paves the way for a post-fossil future

Accelerated renewables-based electrification paves the way for a post-fossil future

The hydrocarbon producing countries of the MENA region believe in their preeminent albeit shrinking source of revenues for decades. But, as shown by some counties of the Gulf net-zero recent pledge, they see economic and political opportunities in moving to the green energy transition. Accelerated renewables-based electrification paves the way for a post-fossil future by Nature Energy explains how the world and particularly the EU in order to achieve its climate and geopolitical goals, it will need to substantially increase its engagement with Gulf states.

The image above is for illustration and is about how Fossil Fuel Jobs Will Disappear, So Now What?

Accelerated renewables-based electrification paves the way for a post-fossil future

The research was published in Nature Energy.

Accelerated renewables-based electrification paves the way for a post-fossil future
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Cost-slashing innovations are underway in the electric power sector and could give electricity the lead over fossil-based combustion fuels in the world’s energy supply by mid-century. When combined with a global carbon price, these developments can catalyze emission reductions to reach the Paris climate targets, while reducing the need for controversial negative emissions, a new study finds.

“Today, 80 percent of all energy demands for industry, mobility or heating buildings is met by burning—mostly fossil—fuels directly, and only 20 percent by electricity. Our research finds that relation can be pretty much reversed by 2050, making the easy-to-decarbonise electricity the mainstay of global energy supply,” says Gunnar Luderer, author of the new study and researcher the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “For the longest time, fossil fuels were cheap and accessible, whilst electricity was the precious and pricier source of energy. Renewable electricity generation—especially from solar photovoltaics—has become cheaper at breath-taking speed, a pace that most climate models have so far underestimated. Over the last decade, alone prices for solar electricity fell by 80 percent, and further cost reductions are expected in the future. This development has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize energy systems. Our computer simulations show that together with global carbon pricing, green electricity can become the cheapest form of energy by 2050, and supply up to three quarters of all demand.”

The reasons lie mainly in the ground-breaking technological progress in solar and wind power generation, but also, in the end, uses of electric energy. Costs per kilowatt hour solar or wind power are steeply falling while battery technology e.g. in cars is improving at great speed. Heat pumps use less energy per unit of heat output than any type of boiler and are becoming increasingly competitive not only in buildings, but also in industrial applications. “You can electrify more end-uses than you think and for those cases actually reduce the energy consumption compared to current levels,” explains Silvia Madeddu, co-author and also researcher at the Potsdam Institute.

“Take steel production: Electrifying the melting of recycled steel, the so-called secondary steel, reduces the total process energy required and lowers the carbon intensity per ton of steel produced,” says Madeddu. “All in all, we find that more than half of all energy demand from industry can be electrified by 2050.” However, some bottlenecks to electrification do remain, the researchers point out. Slowest in the race to decarbonisation are long-haul aviation, shipping, and chemical feedstocks, i.e. fossil fuels used as raw materials in chemicals production.

Limiting the reliance on negative emissions

The scale of the technological progress holds great opportunities for countries to leapfrog and for investors alike. However, not every technology is a success story so far. “In this study, we constrained the reliance on technologies which aim at taking carbon out of the atmosphere, simply because they have proven to be more difficult to scale than previously anticipated: Carbon Capture and Storage has not seen the sharp fall in costs that, say, solar power has. Biomass, in turn, crucially competes with food production for land use,” Luderer lays out. “Interestingly, we found that the accelerated electrification of energy demands can more than compensate for a shortfall of biomass and CCS, still keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal within reach while reducing land requirements for energy crops by two thirds.”

Era of electricity will come—but global climate policy must accelerate it to meet climate goals

“The era of electricity will come either way. But only sweeping regulation of fossil fuels across sectors and world regions—most importantly some form of carbon pricing—can ensure it happens in due time to reach 1.5 degrees,” Luderer says. Indeed, the simulations show that even if no climate policy at all is enacted, electricity will double in share over the course of the century. Yet in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to well below two degrees, decisive and global political coordination is crucial: pricing carbon, scrapping levies on electricity, expanding grid infrastructure, and redesigning electricity markets to reward storage and flexible demands. Here, hydrogen will be a crucial chain link, as it can flexibly convert renewable electricity into green fuels for sectors that cannot be electrified directly. “If these elements come together, the prospects of a renewables-based green energy future look truly electrifying,” says Luderer.

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Greening deserts: India powers renewable energy ambitions

Greening deserts: India powers renewable energy ambitions

Greening deserts in which India powers renewable energy ambitions with solar push could be a good inspiring move for all those countries of the MENA region. An initiative commensurate with this country’s Prime Minister’s words at the COP26.

Greening deserts: India powers renewable energy ambitions with solar push.

By AFPRELAXNEWS


The image above is of The arid state of Rajasthan, where Bhadla Park takes up an area almost the size of San Marino, sees 325 sunny days each year, making it perfectly placed for the solar power revolution, officials say. Image by Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images

The arid state of Rajasthan sees 325 sunny days each year, making it perfectly placed for the solar power revolution


As camels munch on the fringes of Thar desert, an oasis of blue solar panels stretches further than the eye can see at Bhadla Park—a cornerstone of India’s bid to become a clean energy powerhouse. Currently, coal powers 70 percent of the nation’s electricity generation, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged that by 2030, India will produce more energy through solar and other renewables than its entire grid now.

“First, India will increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts… Second, by 2030, 50 percent of our energy requirements will come from renewable resources,” Modi told the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The arid state of Rajasthan, where Bhadla Park takes up an area almost the size of San Marino, sees 325 sunny days each year, making it perfectly placed for the solar power revolution, officials say.

Once an expanse of desert, authorities have capitalised on the sparsely populated area, claiming minimal displacement of local communities. Today robots clean dust and sand off an estimated 10 million solar panels, while a few hundred humans monitor.

This pursuit of a greener future is fuelled by necessity.

India, home to 1.3 billion people and poised to overtake China as the most populous country, has a growing and voracious appetite for energy—but it is also on the frontline of climate change.

In the next two decades, it has to add a power system the size of Europe’s to meet demand for its swelling population, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), but it also has to tackle toxic air quality in its big cities.

“India is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world for climate change and that is why it has this big push on renewables to decarbonise the power sector, but also reduce air pollution,” Arunabha Ghosh, climate policy expert from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, told AFP.

But experts say the country—the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter—is some way from reaching its green targets, with coal set to remain a key part of the energy mix in the coming years.

‘Huge transformation’

Although India’s green energy has increased five-fold in just over a decade to 100GW this year, the sector now needs to grow by the same proportion again to meet its 2030 goals.

“I believe this is more of an aspirational target… to show to the world that we are moving in the right direction,” Vinay Rustagi from renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India, told AFP.

“But it would be a big stretch and seems highly unrealistic, in view of various demand and supply challenges,” Rustagi said.

Proponents point to Bhadla Solar Park, one of the largest in the world, as an example of how innovation, technology, and public and private finance can drive swift change.

“We’ve huge chunks of land where there’s not a blade of grass. Now you don’t see the ground anymore. You just see solar panels. It’s such a huge transformation,” Subodh Agarwal, Rajasthan’s additional chief secretary for energy, told AFP.

Authorities are incentivising renewables firms to set up in the region, known as the “desert state”. Agarwal says demand has “accelerated” since 2019.

“It will be a different Rajasthan. It will be the solar state,” he said of the next decade.

If this surge is sustained then coal-fired power for electricity generation could peak by 2024, according to Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) projections.

Currently, solar power accounts for four percent of electricity generation. Before Modi’s announcement the IEA estimated solar and coal will converge at around 30 percent each by 2040 based on current policies.

India’s billionaires, including Asia’s two richest men Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, are pledging huge investments, while Modi is setting up a renewables park the size of Singapore in his home state of Gujarat.

Show me the money

But reshaping an entire power network takes time and money, analysts warn.

Around 80 percent of India’s solar panels are still imported from China, the world’s biggest producer.

Gyanesh Chaudhary, chief executive of Indian panel manufacturer Vikram Solar, insisted there should be “more than 30” local firms like his already.

“That’s the kind of demand (and) ecosystem that India would essentially need… It should have happened sooner.”

Experts say domestic growth has been stymied by insufficient policies, funding shortages, cheaper panels from China, and infrastructure and energy storage issues.

“A lot of these plants are located at very long distances from power stations, so you have to think of linking them,” explained Apurba Mitra, World Resources Institute India’s climate policy chief.

Modi, who announced at COP26 that India would be carbon neutral by 2070, made it clear that such emissions-cutting pledges would require finance from rich, historic emitters.

“India expects developed countries to provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest. Today it is necessary that as we track the progress made in climate mitigation, we should also track climate finance,” he told more than 120 leaders at the critical talks.

Empowering lives

Farmer and doctor Amit Singh’s three-acre family farmland in Rajasthan’s Bhaloji village was running out of water and hit by frequent power outages.

“I always saw the sun and its rays and wondered… why not harness it to generate electricity?,” he said.

Singh first installed rooftop panels at his small hospital which generated half of its energy needs.

He then invested family savings into a government-linked project on his land.

The mini-solar farm cost 35 million rupees ($450,000) and Singh sells electricity to the grid for 400,000 rupees a month.

“It’s the ultimate source of energy, which is otherwise going to waste… I feel I’m contributing to the developmental needs of my village,” he added.

Ghosh said it was vital to bring down costs.

“When a farmer is able to generate power from their solar plant near their farm and pump out water—we are then able to bring the energy transition closer to the people,” he added.

Pratibha Pai, the founder-director of Chirag Rural Development Foundation which has brought solar to more than 100,000 villagers, believes in clean energy’s transformative role.

She said: “We start with solar power… we end with safe drinking water, power for dark village roads, power for little rural schools which will hopefully script the story of a ‘big’ India.”

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