Top 5: All EVs, All the Time in the EU??

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September 22, 2022

by Tammy Klein (Transport Energy Strategies) ... • Plug-in Hybrids with E85: An IFPEN study has showed that they’re just as climate-friendly as EVs – but will the EU Commission, Parliament and Council listen as they enter the trilogue negotiations on new CO2 standards?

  • The EU Parliament Approves RED III: Provisions approved included increasing the EU’s transport emissions reduction target from 13% to 16% by 2030 which it expects to achieve through the use of advanced biofuels and e-fuels.
  • Battery Mining Nationalism: The green revolution is giving some countries political leverage and they’re using it.
  • Air Pollution: A new Health Effects Institute study shows NO2 and PM2.5 emissions are problematic around the world – vehicle emissions are one reason why.
  • Shipping Fuel Forecast: In a sector decarbonization by 2050 scenario, fuels dominating the energy mix for shipping could be bio-MGO (marine gas oil), bio-LNG, e-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol. But it will cost trillions to get there.

1. Bioethanol Carburant: A New IFPEN Study Confirms the Essential Role of Bioethanol in Reducing Automotive CO2 Emissions – According to a new study from IFPEN in France, plug-in flex-fuel hybrid vehicles running on E85 fuel with up to 85% renewable ethanol are just as climate-friendly as EVs.  IFPEN researchers measured and compared the lifecycle GHG emissions of vehicles powered solely by petrol, plug-in flex-fuel hybrids running on E85 and all-electric cars. Researchers factored in, for example, all GHG emissions in connection with the vehicle and its battery (from manufacture to recycling) as well as the energy used (production, refinery, transport, distribution and combustion). The findings were applied to French and European electric power mixes.

This comparison, applying to 2022 with projections for 2040, shows that plug-in flex-fuel hybrids running on E85 operating 40% of distance travelled as an EV are at least as climate-friendly as all-electric vehicles, with the French electric power mix which is already low-carbon, and even more with the average European mix, which has a higher carbon footprint.  This is shown in the figure below.  (See related commentary on this by Philippe Marchand here.)

The EU will begin a three-way negotiation (“trilogue”) this fall among the EU Parliament, European Council and European Commission on CO2 standards for cars and consider what the European car fleet will look like as from 2035. The proposal from the Commission adopted by the Parliament will require a 100% reduction in CO2 from vehicles by 2035. Right now, the policy militates toward 100% EVs, but there could be an opening during the trilogue for other non-EV solutions that can reach carbon neutrality.

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What’s the solution? Similar to the one of the points made in the IFPEN study, the companies and industry groups note that:

“The fuels industry has set out that production of sustainable, advanced and synthetic fossil free fuels can be ramped up. A needed enabler for this to occur is the clear recognition in regulation and society that ICE, HEV and PHEV vehicles exclusively using sustainable renewable and synthetic fuels can be very low in GHG footprint or even fully climate neutral.  Significant volumes can be made from waste and residue feedstocks and from renewable energy sourced in EU and imported. Highly credible academic studies demonstrate that this combination can equal that of the EVs in terms of decarbonisation of road transport…

Since the transition towards a fully electric mobility will be progressive, sustainable biofuels, renewable fuels and e-fuels are a reliable solution to reduce emissions of the transport sector in the short, medium and long term, ensuring at the same time the use of the existing fleet (so-called legacy fleet) and infrastructure. Electrification and CO2-neutral fuels should be seen as complementary solutions.”

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2. EURACTIV: Parliament Backs E-Fuels, Higher EU Transport Decarbonisation Target

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3. Wall Street Journal: Battery Metals Mining Has a Resource Nationalism Problem – “The green revolution is handing additional leverage to countries where metals like copper and nickel are being dug up. Expect them to use it.” Case in point as noted in this article: Chile. The country voted earlier this month on a new constitution one provision of which would have made mining in the country much more difficult and costly.

It would have granted indigenous groups, including those who live near northern Chile’s vast lithium deposits, more autonomy over ancestral lands and require their consent for new projects. More importantly, it would have raised mining taxation to about 59%. The new constitution was defeated, but the trend toward exercising tighter control of resources, especially those related to battery and EV manufacturing, continues.

The article notes that in addition to Chile, Bolivia and Mexico are also tightening mining regulations, according to S&P Global. Serbia revoked Rio Tinto’s license for its Jadar lithium project in January due to concerns about the potential environmental impact. Indonesia, the world’s top nickel producer, may impose a tax on some product nickel exports this year. Expect more countries to follow suit.

Meantime, prices of battery-grade lithium carbonate in China are currently nine times higher than they were in the beginning of 2021, according to Rystad Energy.

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4. Health Effects Institute: Comprehensive New Report Details Two Major Air Pollutants and Related Health Impacts in More Than 7,000 Cities 

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While exposures to fine particulate, or PM2.5 pollution tend to be higher in cities located in low- and middle-income countries, exposure to nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, is high across cities in high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries.

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5. DNV: Maritime Forecast to 2050

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DNV notes that from 2025 the focus will shift to calculating lifecycle GHG emissions, creating an additional urgency for a green supply chain to control emission costs.

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DNV notes the IMO Strategy will be revised in 2023, possibly strengthening its emission-reduction ambitions. This will be followed by developing the next wave of regulations including market-based measures setting a price on CO2 and a requirement to account for well-to wake GHG emission intensity of fuels. Meantime, the EU has proposed to include shipping in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and has proposed the FuelEU Maritime regulation which aims to increase the use of carbon-neutral fuels through an increasingly stringent well-to-wake GHG intensity requirement. These proposals may be finally adopted later in 2022 and take affect from 2024 and 2025, respectively.

What could this mean for fuels? DNV estimates that by 2030, 5% of the energy for shipping should come from carbon-neutral fuels, and that by 2050, if the sector were to totally decarbonize, fuels dominating the energy mix for shipping could be bio-MGO, bio-LNG, e-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol.  READ MORE

Bolivia and Lithium: Can slow and steady win the race? (New Security Beat/Wilson Center)

EV charge points in Britain are now nearly as expensive as gasoline, research shows (CNBC)

From ICEV to EV, Zero Emission Zones and Social Justice (Transport Energy Strategies)

Euro 7 accused of deadly sins (EurActiv)

 

Excerpt from New Security Beat/Wilson Center:  Lithium is critical to the world’s decarbonization and expansion of clean energy systems. According to the International Energy Agency, to meet goals agreed upon in Paris, clean energy technologies will require 90 percent more lithium over the next two decades. Manufacturers require lithium batteries to replace gasoline cars with electrical vehicles, for instance, and thereby reduce a key contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

But lithium, cobalt, and other strategic minerals, are found only in a small number of countries. Approximately 56 percent of global lithium deposits exist in the brines in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, often referred to as the Lithium Triangle. So how will these nations manage this increasingly essential resource? Bolivia’s journey is worth examining closely.

Bolivia in the Triangle

Chile has extracted and processed lithium since the 1980s. Argentina has done so since the 1990s. But both countries must export the raw extract to northern nations for refinement, and have not developed the technology required to produce lithium batteries. And despite decades of activity, extraction levels in both nations remain low, with Chile at 26,000 metric tons and Argentina at only 6,200 tons of lithium in 2021.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia is positioned to play an important role in fueling the global energy transition. Bolivia possesses the largest lithium deposits in the world, located in the Andean plateau and known as the Uyuni salt flat (Salar de Uyuni). Lithium was discovered in Bolivia in 1976, and early exploration began in 2008 during President Evo Morales’s government under the direction of the state mining company, COMIBOL. Since 2017 lithium extraction has been administrated by the state agency, Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (Bolivian Lithium Deposits-YLB).

Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 12.45.20 PM

“We know that the implementation of our lithium industry is urgent, even more so, considering the war in Europe,” explained  Bolivia’s Hydrocarbons and Energy Minister, Franklin Molina.  “We hope to achieve this in the short-term, but we need to make sure that the lithium process is carried out responsibly in Bolivia, from extraction to the production of battery cathodes, so that the resources benefit our citizens.”  

Greener Extraction?

Multiple socio-economic and environmental challenges exist in lithium extraction and processing. Mining lithium can require about 500,000 gallons of water per ton, leaving less water for other economic uses, including agriculture.

In a November 2021 post on New Security Beat, Jewellord Nem Singh underscored the challenges of securing access to minerals for the green transition. The extraction of critical raw materials from producing countries has the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities between resource-rich (developing) and consuming (developed) countries, especially if consuming countries continue to outsource their environmental and social costs to the producing nations. Indeed, as the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions move to decarbonize, a green transition demands a new blueprint to extract critical minerals that respects the rights of communities in the resource-producing countries.

Already the potential for poor outcomes is apparent. Chile and Argentina consider lithium a strategic resource and have opened their doors to private partnerships. But lithium extraction in both countries has lacked strong environmental safeguards, having the potential to harm the surrounding soil and cause air contamination. Many of Chile’s Indigenous communities in lithium mining areas have been forced to migrate. Privatized water in both countries has eliminated any need for prior consultation with communities and other stakeholders.

Bolivia is the only country in the Lithium Triangle with existing legislation to reach the goal of a greener and more just extraction process. Exploration began in 2008 with the installation of a functioning pilot plant, using a water-conserving evaporation technique, according to Luis Alberto Echazú, who spearheaded the government’s initiative.

A year later, Bolivian citizens ratified a new constitution that redrew the state’s compact with its citizens over water issues. It includes a right to prior consultation for projects affecting Indigenous communities and their territories, identifies water as a basic human right, and established citizens’ right to grassroots oversight of government initiatives.  Bolivian law also requires state income from natural resources to be invested in social programs, education, integrated development, and Indigenous peoples.

The new constitution has also strengthened pre-existing requirements for socio-economic environmental impact evaluations. Bolivia’s 2012 “Law of Mother Earth” created additional regulations, including a requirement to prevent and repair environmental degradation and climate justice. (It also made the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples national law.) There have been significant errors in the implementation of these Bolivian laws, but there is now a solid legal framework and constitutional guarantees that provide a crucial foundation for environmental protection and Indigenous rights. This includes ensuring that enforcement must be closely monitored by communities, civil society and experts.

Collaboration and Conflict

Bolivia permitted outside actors into the extraction sector. But it carried out a rigorous tender process under Echazú’s supervision, which complied with World Bank International IFC Environmental Health and Safety guidelines, as well as Bolivian law.  A German company ACI Systems, won the bid in 2018. Yet, the 2019 political coup in Bolivia disrupted the government’s lithium strategy, forcing the state to cancel the contract with ACI. The self-appointed interim government held the process at a standstill.

Some former government officials and policy analysts attributed the coup to an attempt to sell off the country’s lithium reserves. Such fears were exacerbated by Elon Musk’s July 2020 tweet, “We will coup whoever we want; deal with it.”  READ MORE

 

Excerpt from Transport Energy Strategies:

And the grade-color is the condition to be able to drive, and the chokehold is set to tighten as time goes by.

So far, so good. As engine technology has significantly progressed in the last 20 years in terms of pollutant emissions, NOx and particulates most particularly, it makes sense to curb pollution in dense urban areas by restricting the access to cleaner vehicles, the level of cleanliness being dictated by the severity of the air quality problems. And there is a serious health issue with poor air quality, France is regularly condemned by the European Commission for not meeting basic standards, and not doing enough to get there.

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It is not a good thing to be driving a diesel car these days. “Exiled from main street” motorists, 2025 version, drive a massive 75% of the 40 million-strong and highly-dieselized car pool, bearing in mind 38% of the poorer citizens are owning Crit’Air 4 and 5 vehicles. Not omitting that many of those have been rejected from city centers to exurbia by housing cost, but are still obliged to come and work in the same cities they have been pushed away from, by car, as public transport does not reach that far in the countryside.

In a nation where equality is second in the national motto, behind freedom and before mutual support, we have a clear case of discrimination against the vast majority of motorists, the less wealthy ones. Sure, solutions exist: more, and improved, public transport, modal switch (jargon for car to public transport) parking facilities at the ZFE border, infrastructures that will not appear overnight. The magic solution is the much-publicized “cash-for-clunkers” program, a favorite of carmakers. Obviously targeting the switch from ICEV to EV. Not so easy, though: the typical budget for car replacement that can afford the future banned motorists is typically between 5,000 and 10,000 Euros. With a low resale value of the presently owned ICEV, it would take quite a public support to meet the average sales price of a new EV, beyond 25,000 Euros for a similar size and with the requested range for home-to-work and back. Noteworthy that a typical second-hand EV on the market today shows a limited range that does not meet the exurban driver’s requirements. Obviously the early adopters of EV ownership were wealthy urban dwellers.

So, it seems we are again facing a cart-in-front-of-the-oxen situation. We already faced technical feasibility issues, with the supply of renewable electricity, in volume and price, and of battery materials, with the lack of recharging infrastructure, and this example shows road transport transition towards zero emission is also a matter of social justice, not a small problem in our societies today. The combination of these issues, in front of the willingness to move (too?) fast, makes more and more people, as John Eichberger in a brilliant recent podcast on Tammy’s website, question the credibility of EV adoption in the timeframe that is proposed.  READ MORE

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gorse Governance practices) Government Accountability Office (GAO) government investment government resources government subsidies grain sorghum/milo grain speculators grains GRAND-AM grants grants-local grants-state grapefruit grapes graphene graphite GRAS (generally regarded as safe) Grasses grasses grasshoppers grease Great Green Fleet Great Lakes Greece green bonds green chemistry Green Deal EU green economy green house facility Green Jobs Green New Deal Green Racing Green Recovery green/black economy Greenland GREET Greenhouse Gases Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation Model Grenada gribble growers gua beans Guam guar Guatemala guayule Guerbet reaction Guinea Guinea Bissau Gulf states gulmohar Gumweed (grindelia squarosa) Guyana GWP gypsum h Haiti Halophytes harvest site processing harvesting Hawai'i hay hazardous waste hazelnut HBIIP Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program HDCJ HDO-SAK (hydro deoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene) health health benefits health effects heat of combustion heat of vaporization heat-tolerance heather heating oil/fuel Heavy Duty Truck Rule heavy duty vehicles (HDV) hedging HEFA (Hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) HEFA50 helicopters hemicellulace enzymes hemicellulose hemicellulosic sugars Hemp hemp oil hemp seed herb hexanol HFO (Heavy Residual Fuel Oil) hibiscus high blend renewable fuels (HBRF) High Hydrogen Content Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (HHC-SPK) High Octane Fuel (HOF) High Octane Fuel Standard High Octane Gasoline (HOG) high octane low carbon (HOLC) fuel High Octane Vehicles (HOV) high performance regular high school project high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) high-octane/low-carbon (HOLC) liquid fuels Highway Bill highway rights-of-way Highway Trust Fund history hog farmers hombayniya homogeneous-charge compression-ignition Honduras honey locust Hong Kong Honge tree nuts hops horticulture Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HPF (High Performance Fuels) HRJ (Hydrotreated Renewable Jet) human rights Hungary Hurricane Sandy HVO (Hydrotreated vegetable oil) HVO100 HVO20 HVO30 Hybrid aircraft hybrid buses hybrid locomotive hybrid ships hybrids hydrocarbon fuels Hydrocarbon-Hydroprocesed Esters and Fatty Acids (HC-HEFA-SPK) hydrodeoxygenation hydrodiesel hydrofaction hydroformylation hydrogen aircraft hydrogen carrier hydrogen combustion engines hydrogen fuel cells hydrogen leaks hydrogen pipeline hydrogen price hydrogen pumps/fueling stations hydrogen tax credit hydrogen terminal Hydrogen/Renewable Hydrogen Hydrogen/Renewable Hydrogen Price hydrogenase hydrogenation hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel (HDRD) hydrogenolysis hydropower Hydroprocessed fermented sugars to synthetic isoparaffins (HFS-SIP) hydroprocessing hydropyrolysis hydrothermal carbonization hydrothermal gasification hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) hydrothermal treatment Hydrotreated renewable diesel (HRD) hydrotreating hydrotreatment hydrous ethanol hypoxia zone Iceland Idaho Illinois Illiois illuppai ILUC 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