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Sublime Systems Lands $87 Million Funding from DOE for Low-Carbon Cement

Sublime Systems, a startup pioneering a revolutionary method of producing fossil-fuel-free cement, has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) to start negotiations for up to $87 million in funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. 

The funding, part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program, aims to support projects like Sublime’s First Commercial Electrochemical Cement Manufacturing initiative. Selected among 33 projects spanning over 20 states, these initiatives collectively receive up to $6 billion to showcase their commercial-scale decarbonization solutions. 

These efforts are crucial for transitioning energy-intensive industries towards net zero emissions. They can also help bolster local economies, generate high-quality jobs, and mitigate harmful emissions detrimental to public health. 

Cement’s Carbon Challenge

To understand the innovative strides of Sublime Systems, it’s crucial to grasp the conventional cement-making process and its environmental hurdles.

Cement, when mixed with water, sand, and gravel, constitutes concrete, the second most consumed substance globally after water. This process has remained largely unaltered for centuries. 

Unfortunately, producing traditional cement contributes significantly to carbon emissions, accounting for about 8% of the world’s total emissions. That’s because using ordinary Portland cement (OPC) process to manufacture traditional cement relies on fossil-fueled kilns operating at extreme temperatures. 

This is what Sublime Systems will try to address. Founded in 2020, the Massachusetts-based company works with a clear mission – to revolutionize cement production and mitigate its environmental impact. Here’s the Sublime process of cement manufacturing:

Sublime Systems green cement production

Through innovative electrochemical processes, Sublime has scaled up its cement manufacturing to a pilot capacity of 250 metric tons per year (TPY). The forthcoming commercial facility in Holyoke will be capable of producing up to 30,000 TPY of Sublime Cement™. It’s slated to open as early as 2026, boasting significant reductions in fossil fuel pollution typically associated with industrial growth.

Sublime Systems’ approach hinges on two primary innovations: electrochemical reactions and renewable energy integration. 

Instead of traditional methods that rely on high temperatures, Sublime employs electrochemical reactions to produce cement. This revolutionary approach eliminates the need for burning fossil fuels, thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Then by using electricity to power these reactions, Sublime’s plants have the potential to integrate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. This strategic shift reduces emissions and aligns with renewable energy goals, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Other companies are creating innovative ways to capture carbon dioxide to make it as an ingredient in its cement-free, carbon-negative concrete.

Sublime Systems’ Path to Sustainable Cement Production

Dr. Leah Ellis, CEO and Co-Founder of Sublime Systems highlighted the biggest hurdle hindering this kind of breakthrough innovation in fighting climate change, saying:

“Access to sufficient capital for industrial-scale demonstrations is the single biggest obstacle preventing breakthrough innovations from reaching the scale humanity needs to combat the climate crisis.”

Ellis praised the Department of Energy for addressing this obstacle through funding from OCED’s Industrial Demonstrations Program (IDP). She expressed excitement about collaborating with the department on funding their first commercial manufacturing scale-up. It would be able to produce clean cement while fostering economic opportunities for the surrounding community.

Furthermore, OCED applicants, including Sublime Systems, were mandated by the DOE to submit Community Benefits Plans (CBPs). These plans outline strategies to engage communities, create high-quality jobs, and prioritize economic and environmental justice for disadvantaged groups. 

In Sublime’s case, their decision to establish their first commercial manufacturing facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts was guided by screening tools developed by Justice 40. The startup anticipates the creation of hundreds of jobs during the construction phase of the project. 

The company has forged a strategic partnership agreement with the United Steelworkers (USW), representing approximately half of unionized cement workers in the U.S., focusing on operational roles in the Holyoke plant. Additionally, Sublime has entered into a Memoranda of Understanding to negotiate project labor agreements with building trade unions in the region for the construction phase.

Sublime Systems’ Holistic Approach

Augmenting Sublime’s Community Benefits Plan is a collaboration with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). The OCED selection includes funding to leverage SSEC’s educational programming resources to support this objective.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm emphasized the critical role of advancing decarbonization technologies in pivotal industries such as steel, paper, concrete, and glass. She underscored the significance of President Biden’s industrial strategy, facilitating the Department of Energy’s (DOE) historic investment in industrial decarbonization. 

Granholm highlighted the aim to substantially reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors, ensuring that American businesses and workers remain competitive on the global stage.

Sublime has already secured reservations for over 45,000 tons of Sublime Cement™, demonstrating strong demand for their sustainable cement.

Sublime Systems’ selection for funding under the U.S. Department of Energy’s IDP marks a significant step towards revolutionizing cement production. With innovative electrochemical processes and a commitment to community engagement, Sublime is poised to lead the way in decarbonizing the cement industry, fostering economic growth, and advancing environmental sustainability.

The post Sublime Systems Lands $87 Million Funding from DOE for Low-Carbon Cement appeared first on Carbon Credits.

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Lithium Prices Today: What Are the Factors That Affect Them?

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Lithium Prices, What Factors Affect Them

Lithium, a crucial element in energy storage, holds immense significance in powering various industries. With metal prices soaring, the demand for lithium has surged over recent years. 

This article delves into the intricate world of lithium dynamics, exploring the factors influencing lithium prices, recent trends, and future projections.

Key Factors Impacting Lithium Prices 

Supply and Demand

Global production of lithium has seen a remarkable increase. In 2020, the total demand for lithium worldwide was 292 thousand metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent. 

Forecasts indicate a substantial rise to over 2.1 million metric tons by 2030, highlighting the industry’s exponential growth. This surge is primarily due to the rising battery demand for electric vehicles, which is expected to reach 3.8 million tons by 2035.

lithium demand projection 2030
Source: The World Economic Forum

Data from the US Geological Survey shows that global lithium production reached 180,000 metric tons in 2021, with about 90% coming from just three countries.

Market Demand

Despite robust demand for lithium, growth experienced a decline year-on-year in 2023 due to economic slowdowns, particularly affecting the electric vehicle market in China. Additionally, accelerated capacity expansions led to an oversupply situation. These fluctuations underscore the delicate balance between supply and demand that significantly impacts lithium prices globally.

Economic Factors

Economic factors such as inflation rates and currency fluctuations also influence lithium prices considerably. These macroeconomic indicators directly impact production costs and subsequently affect pricing strategies within the lithium market.

Major Trends in Lithium Pricing

Recent Price Trends

Lithium prices have recently experienced a notable downward trajectory. As of December 18, prices plummeted by 80% within a year, and as of May 7, CIF North Asia price at $14,600/t. This decline has sparked discussions about the sustainability of this trend. 

lithium prices april 2024

Expert insights suggest that low prices may lead to reduced supply and hesitant new investments amidst strong demand and cautious predictions.

Effect on the EV Sector

The lithium price drop has a significant impact on the EV sector. Reduced input costs present opportunities for manufacturers to recalibrate pricing strategies, potentially driving down EV costs and increasing consumer adoption rates. This shift highlights the interconnected nature of commodity pricing and its far-reaching consequences on diverse industries.

What’s the Future of Lithium Prices?

As the lithium market navigates significant fluctuations, industry experts provide valuable insights into future price trajectories. By examining expert predictions and analyzing market opportunities and challenges, stakeholders can comprehensively understand the dynamic landscape ahead.

In a recent interview, industry analyst Joe Lowry predicts that the lithium chemical supply is nearing equilibrium, with prices expected to rise by mid-2024 as inventories rebuild in key markets like China. Similarly, Andy Leyland emphasizes that the lithium market’s balance is delicate and that a projected surplus of 24,000 tonnes LCE in 2024 could quickly change due to market dynamics. 

Staying informed about lithium carbonate and hydroxide prices is crucial for industry participants to capitalize on opportunities and navigate challenges. Monitoring real-time lithium prices and commodity trends provides invaluable insights for strategic positioning amidst market uncertainty.

The post Lithium Prices Today: What Are the Factors That Affect Them? appeared first on Carbon Credits.

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Japan Passes New Bill to Bolster its CCS Technology and Capacity

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On May 17th, Japan’s House of Councillors passed a new law to bolster the business environment for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which is crucial for achieving a decarbonized society. The legislation received majority support in the plenary session.

Key Provisions of Japan’s New CCS Law

The law mandates that the government introduce a permit system for businesses to facilitate CO2 capture from industries operating at variable scales and their underground storage. This measure is part of Japan’s broader strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Role of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) 

To foster a conducive business environment for CCS projects, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan will establish a licensing system. It will cover storage and exploration drilling rights, and develop business and safety regulations for storage companies and CO2 pipeline transportation businesses. Test drilling permits at potential CCS sites will initially be valid for four years. METI will designate suitable geological storage areas as “specified areas” and solicit operators, granting licensed operators prospecting and storage rights.

Notably, this is the first time the CCS bill defines operators’ rights and regulatory requirements. The main highlights of the newly introduced bill are: 

CCS Sites and Business permits

  1. Designate Suitable Areas: Identify specific regions where carbon dioxide (CO2) can be safely stored underground.
  2. Grant CCS Business Permits: Select businesses through a public offering process and grant them permits to operate CCS projects.

Licensed operators will be given

  1. Exploratory Drilling Rights: These rights allow businesses to drill and confirm if geological formations are suitable for CO2 storage.
  2. Storage Rights: These rights permit the actual storage of captured CO2 underground.

Obligations and Liabilities

The law imposes several obligations on businesses:

  1. Monitoring: Businesses must continuously monitor for any CO2 leaks.
  2. Liability for Accidents: Businesses are liable for compensation regardless the leak was due to negligence or an intentional act.

CCS project operators must have their implementation plans approved by the Minister for Economy, Trade, and Industry. Once the stored CO2 is stabilized, the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) will take over the management. Operators will be liable for compensation during accidents, regardless of intent or negligence.

Subsidy System for Hydrogen

In addition to the CCS law, the House of Councillors also passed a law to establish a subsidy system. This system aims to narrow the price gap between hydrogen and natural gas, promoting hydrogen as a viable next-generation energy source.

This comprehensive approach strengthens Japan’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through CCS and supports the broader adoption of hydrogen energy, aligning with the country’s long-term environmental goals.

Japan Advances Carbon Capture under Green Transformation (GX) Policy

Japan’s newly approved law is crucial to achieving a decarbonized economy. It’s an extension of the Green Transformation (GX) Policy that existed since last year. 

Unveiled in February 2023 and approved in July 2023, Japan’s GX policy integrates fiscal and policy measures, potentially amounting to a $1 trillion (150 trillion yen) budget. This policy provides a roadmap for the next decade, balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said,

 “First of all, green transformation, or GX in short, does not just mean the departure from fossil energy. It involves the implementation of major reforms of energy, all industries, and our economy and society, toward achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. To this end, Japan has made a highly challenging international pledge of a 46 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by fiscal 2030.”

Image: The Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project- Japan’s first full-chain CCS project, captured and stored CO2 from a coastal oil refinery on Hokkaido Island in Japan from 2016 to 2019. 

Japan CCSsource: IEA

Based on International Energy Agency (IEA) calculations, 

  • Japan’s estimated annual storage capacity for CCS could range from 120 to 240 MTs by 2050. The goal is to have the first commercial CCS project operational by 2030.

By advancing these legislative measures, Japan aims to create a robust framework for CCS and low-carbon hydrogen, supporting its long-term decarbonization and economic growth objectives.

By enacting these laws, Japan is taking significant steps toward a sustainable and decarbonized future, leveraging both CCS technology and hydrogen energy to mitigate climate change.

The post Japan Passes New Bill to Bolster its CCS Technology and Capacity appeared first on Carbon Credits.

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What is CSRD and how does it affect your business?

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The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is a significant regulatory development aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability in corporate sustainability practices within the European Union. This directive broadens the scope of companies required to report on their sustainability efforts and introduces more detailed and standardised reporting requirements. 

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