Industry Highlights – The Benefit of Long Duration Storage

With decarbonization moving forward, it has become clear that energy storage will be one of the key enablers. This is for a variety of reasons. To phase out fossil fuels, there will be more renewable energy resources integrated into the grid. However, the absence of flexibility provided by gas-fired plants will not be addressed by wind or solar given their variability from moment to moment. In addition, the influx of new energy sources places a strain on the existing infrastructure, already exacerbated by booming electrification. Energy storage serves as the bridge, providing the flexibility needed to not only fill in the gaps, bringing the necessary balance between supply and demand, but to also shift surplus generation to more optimal times.

Energy storage is crucial for the energy transition. The long-term targets are clear, but the pathway can be considered indeterminate. The near-term focus has shifted to long-duration energy storage (LDES). To note, the definition of LDES has evolved over time. Initially it was any storage for longer than 2 hours; perhaps this was a limitation of its time where 2 hours was significant and potentially harder to achieve. This imprecise term has covered systems rated for 6+ hours of full capacity discharge [1].

LDES has significant potential to make an immediate impact on a grid-level. When located in front of the meter, this energy storage directly feeds into the power grid to be transmitted to end users. From this location, a system can address many of the short-term needs. For instance, the general increase in electrification is intensifying the load on the grid. The direct way to solve this would be to update the infrastructure; this would involve building out the transmission lines, fortifying them for greater capacity [2]. Most of the legacy equipment was designed and built to deliver electricity from centralized resources, such as thermal power generation; becoming decentralized and more interconnected will allow for more distributed generation resources [2].  This kind of construction need is easy to identify but the actual implementation is complicated. There are multiple stakeholders at play from the government level to the utility to the grid operators to municipalities and beyond. Coordination of these stakeholders and acquiring the necessary investment takes considerable time. An LDES can allow this kind of network-strengthening investment to be deferred, optimizing how finances are allocated and reducing risk of a long-lasting project not being used when finally ready [3]. The infrastructure changes then can be approached systematically without a deficit in the grid.

With the integration of intermittency from renewable generation, the capacity of the grid can become unstable. Grid operators must monitor which power sources are available to meet the demand. The dispatchability of LDES creates a firm capacity, facilitating better tuning of grid frequency and ensuring a consistent supply of electricity, resulting in grid stability [3]. This allows a balance in the use and transition between resources. In addition, this provides security in supply since energy storage can fill the gap when another system is unavailable. An obstacle to embracing the full potential of storage has been the need for supportive policy and market frameworks [3]. The industry as a whole needs to standardize the approach to energy storage at least to some level. At least there has been global consensus on the need and efforts are being made to create a framework for regulations in the future [4].

So is LDES the solution moving forward? The answer is yes, but it is one of many. It is Nilar’s belief that there will be a multitude of different solutions working in synergy to truly gain the decarbonization desired; collaboration and concurrent progress are the key.  It appears the world is coming together to invest in many different pathways forward. And according to recent assessments by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the United Nations, there is still time to have an impact on climate change through decarbonization as long as we act swiftly, now

 

 

 

[1] J. Spector, “So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?,” 26 October 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/so-what-exactly-is-long-duration-storage-explained.
[2] A. Allard, “The Surge in Electrification of Transportation Requires a Sustainable and Resilient Electrical Infrastructure,” 1 April 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.powermag.com/blog/the-surge-in-electrification-of-transportation-requires-a-sustainable-and-resilient-electrical-infrastructure/.
[3] World Energy Council , “Five Steps to Energy Storage: Innovation Insights Brief – 2020,” World Energy Council 2020, London, 2020.
[4] N. Moussu, “EU ministers reach broad consensus on batteries regulation,” EURACTIV.fr, 18 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-ministers-reach-broad-consensus-on-batteries-regulation/.

Meet a Nilar Employee – Tomas

How would you describe yourself?
I am a very curious guy who finds it very difficult to sit still when there are improvements to be made. I’m usually very positive and I like different people in general.

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I have always had an interest in computers and videos games. I was always seeking out the latest console, so I have actually had all the PlayStation releases. I like to visit the exhibitions where they display new technology. Since I have always been curious about new technology, working with the energy solutions of the future felt just right for me.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was recruited by my former production manager from a previous job. I started as a test technician at Nilar in 2012, and, since that day, I have had the opportunity to work in multiple roles around the company: Technician, Assembler, Forklift driver, Material Coordinator, Team Leader, Flow Manager, and now, Operational Support / LEAN Coordinator. This is a brand-new position, but it felt like a natural transition from my previous work. It seems I have always been using LEAN methodologies and have taken courses on lean improvement.

What is the most common misconception about your role?
There tends to be very ambiguous understanding of the word LEAN. It is assumed that the LEAN Coordinator is a person who goes around “Doing 5S” from time to time but also involves yelling at people who don’t clean up their mess. I do believe in the continuous improvement that committing to the 5S system provides.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Right now, we are starting a new journey with the production staff.  We are working together to develop the smartest working methods. Learning from past mistakes made and our acquired experience, we will now build a world-class organization!

What motivates you?
I am motivated by learning new skills, every day, regardless of whether it’s at work or in my everyday life at home.

Early mistakes that you learnt from in your career?
I have learned that everything will get better in the end. If it’s not better yet, it’s not the end!

Your favorite movie/television show/book/genre?
I like Sci-fi films and series, especially the ones with time-travel. I love the Back to the Future movies. They never get old.

A secret talent?
I’ve got all of talents… but a secret one? When I was younger, I was often told I have a big mouth. I stumbled upon one interesting ability.  I can close my lips around a Pringles tube. Well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore!

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
It’s a company who always have taken good care of me as an individual. Nilar has always opened doors for me and has let me work with the best colleagues I can ever imagine. I am very proud to work at Nilar!


Industry Highlights – Big Steps in Battery Regulation

As the energy transition pushes forward, one critical step is for regulations to align with the needs of the movement. Batteries are a significant enabler of decarbonization through electric vehicles and energy storage which makes the battery value chain a high priority. In December 2020, the European Commission developed a proposal to create battery-specific regulations for the European Union (EU). The goal was to create a framework for mandatory requirements on material sourcing, sustainability, safety, installation, and requirements for end-of-life management [1]. This proposal is closely aligned with the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the New Industrial Strategy, which are all foundational for the transformation to a circular, digital economy in Europe [2].

On March 17th, the Environmental Council held a policy debate regarding the legislative framework. This revolved around a compromise proposal developed by France which was considered instrumental to bringing the group to a consensus. Within this meeting, the Council officially adopted a general approach to the regulations and now negotiations begin on the final text and any remaining sticking points with the European Parliament [3]. The efforts put in by France were in hopes to accelerate the implementation schedule. As stated by Pascal Canfin of France, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of the Renew Europe group, “With this text, we become the world leaders in environmental regulation of battery production throughout the value chain” [4].

If the finalized wording can be adopted by the end of 2022, which is an accelerated review period, the regulations will be in force six months early, becoming active in January 2027 instead of July [4]. One thing to note is that the compromised proposal incorporated delays in formal regulation enforcement. The initial proposal did pose quicker timelines, with earliest enforcement of certain elements starting in 2023; the change was most likely needed to gain more acceptance, giving all the EU member countries time to work out their own implementation strategies. There is concern that this waiting period is too long. Industry leaders in Europe felt obligated to appeal to the Environment Ministers directly for swift action. In an open letter, they noted that many companies are close to already adopting all the necessary changes outlined in the draft and this delay may hurt the future competitiveness of European businesses [5]. Slow implementation will make it hard for newcomers in the industry to contend and that regulations like this will help the rapid development of the battery industry occur in a more resilient and sustainable way. Only time will tell how the final version will resolve but there is hope that this can be fully accepted within 2022.

Governance over batteries within the EU is not a new topic. However, this new proposal is meant to replace the Batteries Directive of 2006, which was considered too narrow in its scope and limited in its ability to enforce mandates at end-of-life [6]. One significant move within this new framework is the creation of a battery passport, which will track the battery through its life cycle, forcing all parties involved at any stage to be compliant with the requirements. There are still elements to work out, such as the methodologies for calculating targets and how compliance will be penalized, but so far, the industry is behind this change [6].  Once the set of regulations has been formalized, it will be interesting to see how each country of the EU interprets the law for their nation. The EU is on their way to establishing the starting framework that other countries worldwide could use to advance in electrification.

As stated by Simona Bonafé, the Vice-Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, “For the first time in European legislation, the Battery Regulation lays down a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product life cycle, from the design phase to end-of-life. This creates a new approach to boost the circularity of batteries and introduces new sustainability standards that should become a benchmark for the entire global battery market. Batteries are a key technology for fostering sustainable mobility and for storing renewable energy” [2]. With the significance that batteries hold for decarbonization, it is crucial to lay the groundwork for the future.

 

 

[1] European Parliament, “New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements,” European Parliament, 4 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_BRI(2021)689337.
[2] D. Popp, “MEPs want to strengthen new EU rules for design, production and disposal of batteries,” 10 February 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220202IPR22435/meps-want-to-strengthen-new-eu-rules-for-batteries.
[3] N. Moussu, “EU ministers reach broad consensus on batteries regulation,” EURACTIV.fr, 18 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-ministers-reach-broad-consensus-on-batteries-regulation/.
[4] N. Moussu, “Canfin: Battery Regulation to enter into force ‘six months’ early,” EURACTIVE France, 4 February 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/batteries/interview/nelly-canfin-battery-regulation-to-enter-into-force-six-months-early/.
[5] Automotive Cells Co; EIT InnoEnergy; Eramet; Verkor; Northvolt; Talga; Vulcan Energy; Skeleton Technologies , “Open Letter – Battery Regulation (industry),” 15 December 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.transportenvironment.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2021_-batteries_reg_open_letter_companies.pdf. [Accessed 2022].
[6] E. Burlinghaus, “As the US struggles to “green” supply chains, new EU battery regulation offers lessons,” EnergySource, 11 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/energysource/new-eu-battery-regulation-offers-lessons/.

Reflecting on International Women’s Day

A few years ago, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) compiled a report about the relationship between gender and the renewable energy industry. The goal was to explore the female role within the industry now, the challenges that they still face and the potential measures that can bridge the gap. The study found that 32% of renewable energy workforce is female [1]. This was based on a large survey of nearly 1500 respondents across 144 countries. The general breakdown of this portion of the workforce is summarized in the diagram below  [1].

This survey highlighted the lack of awareness and slanted perception of the disparity in the workforce. One barrier is the broad male-biased social attitude and perception about gender, such as the assumption that women lack the physical strength for certain technical roles [1]. The general social perception has been shifting in the years since this survey, but the current estimated breakdown is still consistent with IRENA’s findings. The commitment to the UN Sustainability Goal for Gender Equality has opened doors with initiatives to support growth and accessibility for female careers but improvement is slow. To build more equality, there is a need for more female involvement in all levels of the industry, influencing policy [2]. Empowering women will be the key to progress and the predicted growth in the industry job market provides the opportunity to do so.

Nilar is committed to empowering women in the industry from the top down. Our board of directors is 40% female, bringing extensive experience to the table. Within the company, women represent 29% of the overall workforce. This is segmented into 33% within our blue-collar employees and 27% within the white-collar employees. This is lower than ideal, but we are always striving towards improvement. Currently 18% of our internal leadership roles are occupied by women, with two female leaders established in our most critical positions: the manager of our research department in chemistry and the head of operations. Their respective department breakdowns mirror the importance of female leadership; women represent 60% of the chemistry group and 33% of operations. We are proud of the collaborative spirit and extraordinary achievements that our female colleagues bring to our business.

At Nilar, we work hard in creating a workplace with the right prerequisites that are fit for all people. For any newly hired employee, Nilar offers training to equalize the competencies amongst the department. There are ongoing efforts to establish different developmental pathways for internal growth and specialization. Through our relationships with nearby academic facilities, we are able to explore different educational initiatives, which has opened up higher education possibilities to our employees. Nilar values strengthening the knowledgebase of the company and our collaborative environment is only enhanced by our employees’ willingness to learn and explore.

[1] IRENA, “RENEWABLE ENERGY: A GENDER PERSPECTIVE,” International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, 2019.
[2] T. Gunawardena, “To what extent can renewable energy empower women in rural communities?,” World Economic Forum, 07 July 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/to-what-extent-can-renewable-energy-empower-women-in-rural-communities/.

Industry Highlights – Evolving Anxiety with Commodity Prices

The energy transition is in full swing, further fueled by the growing commitments of world leaders at the end of the year. There is now a flurry of activities worldwide. Shortly after the meeting in Glasgow, the World Energy Council (WEC) performed their 13th annual survey of energy leaders from around the world. Their goal is to obtain unique insights into the risks, opportunities, and actions with energy-related developments [1]. Though this is subjective by nature, it does provide a snapshot in time of where the global perception stands on the key issues of today, especially when it directly follows the highly anticipated climate summit. After the survey, the WEC compiles an issues map to reflect where each of the topics fall in terms of what can be defined as a critical uncertainty versus action priority and where they fall in perceived impact and uncertainty for those surveyed. The results are presented below [1].

The last couple years have been unique due to the added stress of the pandemic on all of the displayed aspects in the industry. Based on the WEC survey results, the most critical item “keeping energy leaders awake at night” is commodity pricing. In addition to the printed report, the World Energy Council compiles the survey results in an interactive tool online where you can explore how attitudes have changed over time (www.im.worldenergy.org). Though the 2022 report results will be integrated in March, it is interesting to observe that up until now, commodity prices have always been near the center-point lines, presumably considered very low in priority [1]. This sharp increase in uncertainty for commodities is no surprise. The record volatility in the energy markets has been well documented from the regional to global level.

According to analysts at IHS Markit, the current state of the supply chain can be considered a historic event, representing the first major upheaval in the globalized supply chain [2]. There are multiple factors that have been emerging over time, only exasperated by the significance of COVID-19. Many manufacturing companies are reporting severe constraints on their product output, resulting in unprecedented product lead times [2]. There have been staff shortages and materials with demand growth still steadily rising and inflation becoming more omnipresent. The shipping container issues over the last couple years have resulted in slower circulation overall, with shipping rates increasing and congesting of existing shipments at ports [2]. The reverberating scarcity of different semiconductor families has had more of a targeted impact on product portfolios. In general, IHS Markit concluded that the perspective has shifted to acknowledge that supply chain problems are not short-term hardships and will have broad lasting implications within future planning.

The situation is framed best by a quote from the Secretary-General of the World Energy Council, Dr. Angela Wilkinson [3].

“Commodity prices are inherently linked to system costs, affordability, taxation and, crucially, equity. Humanising energy is imperative – we must involve more people and voices, community solutions and ways of holding leaders to account.  Better solutions for people and planet will require new models of human and economic development and a shift from incremental improvements to transformational strategies that work across borders, across sectors, involve all levels of society, and deal with more than one issue at a time.”

As we move into the future, there is a renewed vigor to achieve the defined sustainability goals. For the energy market specifically, the momentum of decarbonization and electrification is strong. Alongside the increased electrification of transportation, the demand for stationary energy storage solutions is catapulting forward to handle stability challenges in the grid. Companies are finding ways to adapt to the limitations in the supply chain, like changing their inventory strategies. This just serves as the most recent hurdle to overcome, but the energy transition has faced obstacles before and will continue to do so. This highlights what Nilar believes is core to the decarbonization movement: there is no single solution that will be the answer. Concurrent progress on multiple fronts will be the way forward. As we adapt to the new state of the energy industry, Nilar’s purpose remains unshakable. Nilar will be pivotal in renewable integration and energy storage.

 

 

[1] World Energy Council, “2022 World Energy Issues Monitor: Energy in Uproar-Achieving Commitments through Community Action,” World Energy Council, London, 2022.
[2] D. Yergin and P. Tirschwell, “The Great Supply Chain Disruption: Why it continues in 2022,” IHS Markit, London, 2022.
[3] N. Nhede, “Uncertainty reigns as energy leaders address sector challenges – study,” Smart Energy International , 9 February 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/business/uncertainty-reigns-as-energy-leaders-address-sector-challenges-study/.

Meet a Nilar Employee – Jenny

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
My current PhD work at KTH Royal Institute of Technology is very interesting. It revolves around making a model of the battery, which requires a full understanding of how it functions. One of my colleagues at KTH has convinced me to get involved in structural analysis, working on the correlation between the open circuit voltage hysteresis of the battery and the structure of the electrode. This has led to the use of different instruments that allows me to investigate the inner functions of the battery, looking at structure and how that relates to electrochemical properties.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
Honestly, through networking, which I have learned to be very important in this industry. Lars Fredriksson, one of Nilar’s founders, contacted me directly and I was interviewed shortly after. I started working in battery characteristics but then moved to more of an analyst position, managing data and creating algorithms to benefit our battery operation.

What motivates you?
My motivation is a combination of multiple things. I want to feel like I have done something worthwhile and have contributed to society. I also feel I have a burning curiosity that drives me to always want to know the “how” and “why” and I am not satisfied unless I know how things work.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
In my opinion, the best thing about Nilar is the team I work with; I appreciate the people. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of bureaucracy imposed, which helps us to solve problems together without having to deal with red tape. Everyone in the group is very driven, which I think is needed for this type of work. Teamwork is the biggest highlight, and I am energized by the challenges of problem solving.

Early mistakes that you learnt from in your career?
Communication skills are more important than I think I could have imagined. I found that when presenting information, many people want the big picture first, then correlated with details from there. Different people, different experiences, different brains all can interpret the same facts and come to different conclusions. When communicating, it is my job to lead the audience through my thought journey, arriving at the conclusions I have made. I feel I am very detail-oriented and sometimes veer off track with the particulars, losing the audience. I had to find a way to communicate that was not natural to me and I do still work on that today.

Your favorite book or genre?
I really enjoy reading fantasy and science fiction. One of my favorite authors is Brandon Sanderson. He is known for the Mistborn series. He also wrote the final books of the Wheel of Time series, which was stipulated by the will of the original author. In general, I think Sanderson is a very talented world builder. He manages to incorporate different magic systems as well, adding to the variety of his writing. I find one of the most interesting aspects of science fiction and fantasy is the way authors can tackle the topic of societal issues. Even though the stories include fantastical creations, it is interesting to see the real impact something like that can have on a society.

A secret talent?
I sing opera. This started almost two years ago, after being denied singing in my normal choir by the pandemic. I take classes with a private tutor and participate in group classes. It is in a masterclass format where we work as a small group, getting advice on improving as we perform. I feel music is my lifeblood, and it has always been a part of my life from an early age. I remember wanting to be an opera singer when I was a child, but I think I put too much pressure on the concept. With age, I realized that I could just sing for me, for the enjoyment of the craft.

 

 


Industry Highlights – Forging Ahead Despite Challenges

The energy transition has been gaining momentum. The flurry of activities can be attributed to the commitments of various world leaders in Glasgow near the end of the year. When discussing the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), one of the most significant outcomes may be the prospect of accountability. Timelines for defined plans and progress checks have been shortened. This next decade is going to be decisive in our progress against climate change. A pivotal step forward is what the world urgently needs.

With the new year beginning, it is beneficial to take stock of where we are at. The International Energy Agency (IEA) had put out its recent World Energy Outlook (WEO) report in October 2021, emphasizing the benefits and risks associated with the current and prospective scenarios associated with global energy issues. There is a need to simultaneously analyze multiple pathways forward to understand where shortcomings lie. The WEO presents three scenarios where one reflects the policies already underway, the second presents the model updated with pledges made prior to publication, and a third, more aggressive, model that results in net zero emissions by 2050. Reviewing the WEO, the primary takeaway is that the current trajectory does not accomplish the goals set by the original Paris Agreement, which was to slow the rise in global temperature to less than 2°C relative to preindustrial levels.

Within the WEO, the third model, referred to as the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE), depicts a roadmap that can close the gap and help stabilize the global temperature change at 1.5°C.  This model could be considered optimistic but reflects plausible actions and aspirations. Models like this and the ones created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) exist to provide policymakers with the necessary knowledge and guidance to make informed decisions. The meeting in Glasgow was the pinnacle of two years of persistent diplomacy focused on elevating the 1.5°C dream into reality. The Glasgow Climate Pact formalized the agreement from Paris in 2015, upholding every country to their pledges as they updated them towards more aggressive action during the summit. Four main themes emerged as the primary foci of the concerted global effort: Mitigation, Adaptation & Loss and Damage, Finance, and Collaboration. The main takeaway was that immediate action on all four fronts is needed to keep anything remotely close to the NZE scenario alive.

With the synergy exemplified at COP26, 2021 closed on an encouraging yet hesitant note. This came after the world’s leading scientists joined together and stressed the severity of the situation, aggregating and presenting substantial evidence to back their findings. Globally, medical professionals had taken a stand and demanded action on climate change while deep inside a pandemic battle. Then international leaders came together to collaborate on action plans to move forward strategically and sustainably. Therefore, the year ended in a place of hope, albeit a somewhat fragile version of such.

So what has come from all this progress so far? In the European Union (EU), the European Commission has established the “Fit for 55” package, which is a comprehensive group of proposals that factors in all areas of economy and society, transforming the continent from the ground up. There are many factors considered within this proposal package that is working to directly align EU legislation with the 2030 goals. This includes but is not limited to an EU emission trading system, renewable energy integration, alternative fuels infrastructure, energy taxation, social climate funds, and many more. Over the last few months, the various industry-specific councils established by the European Commission have been monitoring progress towards implementation of the Fit for 55 package, checking on different sectors every two to three months. In the most recent review, a primary milestone was an agreement on how to strengthen the resilience of critical entities to ensure they can prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and resist terrorism, natural disasters, or health crises.

In the US, there have been ambitious proposals for legislation towards climate and social spending. The “Build Back Better” Act would have put $550 billion towards the energy transition, funding things like methane fees and clean energy taxes. The lack of bipartisanship has provided setbacks for now. However, in November, there was a large infrastructure bill signed into law. Its focus went beyond just repair of deteriorating roads and bridges, providing funds for climate resilience initiatives like grid modernization.  Together, the “Build Back Better” Act and infrastructure bill would not reach the US goal for 50% reduction in greenhouse gas production by 2030, but they would have been foundational for reaching those emissions targets in the future. An updated version of the “Build Back Better” Act is already underway in hopes of achieving bipartisan acceptance in the near future.

The energy industry alone is expected to grow at an exponential rate due to the global movement towards decarbonization. According to Wood Mackenzie, the projected rate of annual capacity growth will reach 190 GWh by 2030. The ambitious goals set globally have driven deployment forward.

At this pace, the decarbonization movement is already running into challenges.  The energy transition is happening throughout the energy value chain but not all areas are synchronized. Wind and solar systems are penetrating the market much faster than the base electrical infrastructure can handle in the long run. Ultimately, this means that the grid is going to run into reliability issues. In addition, there is an imbalance in electricity services available to one-tenth of humanity. This means there is a need for grid investment towards equality. There are also supply chain issues that have become exacerbated by the exponential demand on materials and the varying limitations of the pandemic. Bringing a balance to the energy value chain growth is a formidable task but will be worth the investment in the long run.

Right now, the world is coming together to invest in many different pathways forward. This aligns with Nilar’s belief that there is no single solution that will be the answer; collaboration and concurrent progress are the key. Despite all the challenges, global aspirations of climate change mitigation and economic recovery are forging ahead.


Industry Highlights – Season of Decision

Climate talk is in the air. This could be due to the recent meeting in Glasgow, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, known as COP26. This could be related to the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stating that they can definitively say climate change has a human cause. This could be from the recent appeal made by the medical community within multiple medical journals worldwide calling global leaders to act on climate change within a pandemic. Or this could just be dominant thinking due to the severe shifts in weather and global crises in droughts, floods, destruction, famine, and illness. In any case, the prominence is no mistake. The scientific community has come to one conclusion: Changes are being made but not fast enough. Now is the time to act. It is hard not to focus on the tangible problems that are clearly in front of us instead of the anticipated problems of the future. It is a time of great stress and there is a lot needed to effect change on the most immediate issue. The goal will be to find a way to do both.

The large climate summit, COP26, brought together the countries of the United Nations for two weeks at the beginning of November. This highly anticipated gathering was under considerable pressure to inspire and provoke swift action. The International Energy Agency (IEA) had put out its recent World Energy Outlook (WEO) report in October, which highlights the benefits and risks associated with the current and prospective scenarios associated with global energy issues. The hope is for a report of this nature to provide direct guidance for decision making as it analyzes the current trends and how the existing pledges and timelines will fare. The WEO presents three scenarios where one reflects the modeled changes from the policies already underway, the second presents the model updated with pledges made up to the report publication, and a third, more aggressive, model that results in net zero emissions by 2050.

Reviewing the WEO, one key takeaway was that all the changes underway and pledged are crucial in causing a significant reduction in carbon emissions. However, the current trajectory does not accomplish the goals set by the Paris Agreement, which was to slow the rise in global temperature to less than 2°C relative to preindustrial levels and to establish a methodology to keep it from growing further. The States Policies Scenario (STEPS), focusing on current measures in place, was found to meet all net growth of energy demand by 2050. However, the present-day emissions would remain constant, and the STEPS model would lead to the global temperature change reaching 2.6°C by 2100. The Announced Pledges Scenario (APS) fares better, with global energy demand reaching a plateau after 2030 and CO2 emissions falling by 40% by 2050.  Nevertheless, the year 2100 will see the global temperature change reach 2.1°C in APS models. These two models are essential to show that progress is being made and that current actions are not in vain. The third model, referred to as the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE), depicts the roadmap that can close the gap and help stabilize the global temperature change at 1.5°C.

The spirit of the discussions needed in Glasgow was clear. Therefore, many countries came with a firm resolve to get things done. There was some posturing, which is somewhat expected when politicians gather; a few speeches could be viewed as “words that sound great but so far have led to no action”.  However, after all the talking and networking, there were significant agreements put in place, referred to collectively as the Glasgow Climate Pact. The COP26 president stated that “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.” The Glasgow Climate Pact is critical for the path forward. Within the two years since the last COP meeting, there was impassioned diplomacy and four main themes for the concerted global effort to focus. To start, there was Mitigation. The Paris Rulebook was finalized, with 153 countries committing to new 2030 emission targets. This is significant since the countries involved represent 90% of the world GDP, indicating that the more industrialized countries, being large contributors to the climate issues, are taking on the bulk of the Mitigation strategies.  There were commitments vehicle manufacturers to provide only zero-emission vehicles by 2035, with other companies concurrently committing to electrifying their fleet. Together, the commitments made just before the summit along with those made during now reflect the possibility of holding the temperature rise to 1.5°C.

The second focus in Glasgow was Adaptation & Loss and Damage. With the devastation following the ever-changing climate conditions, it was important to make the vulnerable a priority. This portion of the pact makes this impactful globally instead of country-specific, with funds allocated towards things like disaster resilient infrastructure and adaptation in least developed countries. As stated by the Director of Climate for the International Institute for Environment and Development, “That many wealthier nations are also pledging money to support countries to adapt to climate change, as well as reduce their emissions, is a sign of real progress, tackling both sides of the climate crisis”. This kind of commitment paired well with the third focus of Finance. At COP26, there was new, forward-looking money made available in both the public and private sectors, mobilizing nearly $500 billion within the next 4 years alone. As a final focus within the summit, there was Collaboration. This included simple changes to commitments like giving them common timeframes instead of the sporadicity that existed. There were also a series of councils and committees bringing different groups of countries together to establish the international framework in key areas. All of this was to bring coherence and focus to the actions at hand.

The most significant outcome at Glasgow may be through accountability. All the parties involved agreed to meet in a year with their presented ambitions better defined and strengthened. The collaborative efforts reflect the belief we have felt is core to the decarbonization movement: there is no single solution that will be the answer. Synergy will move us forward. At Nilar, we see the prospective outcomes from COP26 as a step forward not only in climate change mitigation but also as a step towards the economic recovery that is urgently needed globally. As the COP26 president put it, “we must now move forward together and deliver on the expectations.”


Industry Highlights – The Human Toll of Climate Change

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 220 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the start of the pandemic. There have been 4,713,543 deaths by September 23, 2021 and, unfortunately, still counting. There is a palpable urgency in the air to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and the medical community is on the front line, enduring the fight. Despite being at the center of this global pandemic, 220 of the leading nursing, medical, and public health journals worldwide felt obligated to urge action on climate change for humanity’s sake. On September 6th, there was a striking editorial published simultaneously in 231 different international journals that declared “the greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C and to restore nature.”

This unprecedented, coordinated call for action is aimed at all world leaders and reflects the primary consensus of the medical community. The timing was no coincidence as the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was beginning on September 14, followed by the heavily anticipated 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, known as COP26, in Glasgow in November.  When discussing this editorial with the Wall Street Journal, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine noted “It is evident that climate change is a problem. What is less evident to people is that it is a public-health problem, not just a physical catastrophe. ” Decarbonization efforts in industry do dominate global media coverage. However, there are so many interconnected consequences that the health effects are not as prioritized. Health professionals have been trying to bring this to the attention of world leaders for a long time, with a consistent urgency only changed by the escalating level of support and agreement. There was a previous letter to the G20 leaders in May of 2020 calling for stimulus efforts to fight the pandemic to also take on the foundational factors that increased the vulnerability of society. They noted that the enormous funding within “key sectors like health care, transport, energy and agriculture must have health protection and promotion embedded at their core.”

Relative to the “pre-industrial period”, the global temperature is drawing near a 1.5°C change. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) described, the world drifts towards a state of emergency without immediate intervention. Climate change is associated with meteorological and extreme weather events. There have been multiple storms described with statements like “once in a lifetime”, “once in 50 years” or “once in a decade” that are now happening with ever increasing frequency. Not only do these leave death and devastation in their wake, but they also intensify the growth of infectious diseases, heat wave related mortality, and diminished air quality, amongst other repercussions.  The health-focused editorial focused on the disparity in global public health, where the crisis disproportionately effects countries and communities that have contributed least to the problems. Wealthier countries can achieve large jumps in emission reduction but there is more need to support low- and middle-income countries if any of these efforts are to be universally effective. To build a sustainable, resilient, and fair future, high income countries will need to go beyond their initial commitment, intervening in transportation and health infrastructure, food production and distribution, as well as financial markets.

There is no doubt an abundance of gratitude for the research and medical communities that came together to combat the pandemic, caring for the plethora of patients and bringing a vaccination to reality. They continue to fight the good fight, never relenting. However, the gravity of the climate crisis weighs heavily and seeing the world crashing in one realm while you’re battling in another was too much. We are bearing witness to their harmonized plea for action. The request is not for a miracle but for a sustainable approach that can be coordinated on a global scale. There is a fundamental need to make foundational changes in the way we live, however, this does not mean an end to our way of life. As they note, we all “must do all we can to aid the transition to a sustainable, fairer, resilient, and healthier world”. With the unambiguous statement by the scientific community about the overwhelming evidence of climate change being caused by human action, it is now time for human action to overcome it. This will take all of us, combining our efforts and attacking the problems from different angles. As a contributing member of the decarbonization movement, Nilar is honored to be part of an innovative and tenacious group seeking a better tomorrow.


21 green and sustainable projects in the heart of Stockholm

On September 10th, the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched a photo exhibition at a public square called Raoul Wallenbergs torg in the heart of Stockholm. The posters on display present 21 green and sustainable projects that have been financed by EIB over the last few years. The main theme of the event is “Working Together for a Sustainable Future.” There is free access to walk through the showcase to learn more about these progressive projects.

Since designating themselves as the European climate bank, EIB has worked hard to align their lending with climate related targets and the Paris agreement. The ambitious plan has brought critical funding to many innovative and groundbreaking companies working on important aspects of the green transition. Nilar is one of the proud recipients on display, with EIB supporting the expansion and improvement of the manufacturing lines as well as providing a financial boost to the research and development efforts to advance the commercial viability of the Nilar Hydride® technology.

The photo exhibition will be at Raoul Wallenbergs torg through September, moving to a different square in Sweden for October, Sergels torg. To learn more about the projects, visit the expo website found by clicking here.