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  • Writer's pictureGustavo Bernal Torres

Sand Batteries, Hydrogen Cruises, EU Taxonomy, SCOTUS/EPA, and TED

Source: Pixabay

Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:

1. Europe's Battle Over "Green" Natural Gas-

  • Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has set off a scramble in Europe to secure natural gas supplies ahead of next winter and for many years to come, with planning underway to build more than a dozen new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

  • Gas-fueled power plants will need to meet certain emissions criteria in order to be referred to as sustainable investments and need to switch to low-carbon gases by 2035. The EU still aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by "at least 55%" by 2030, and be carbon neutral by 2050.

  • A major concern for those seeking to meet the Paris climate targets and limit human-caused global warming is new fossil fuel infrastructure that can be used for decades, unless such installations could be converted to using or producing renewable energy.

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2. E.P.A. Describes How It Will Regulate Power Plants After Supreme Court Setback-

  • Last week’s ruling took away a major tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Many regulatory options still remain, but the path will be more difficult.

  • A key part of the plan: Further restrict other pollutants that coal-burning power plants emit such as soot, mercury and nitrous oxides — a move that also will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision, which concluded that the E.P.A. lacks broad authority to transform the nation’s electrical system away from fossil fuels, has left the Biden administration bereft of a powerful tool, energy experts said. The ruling did not strip the E.P.A. of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but it allowed only narrower policies to regulate how individual power plants operate.

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3. MSC Cruises, Fincantieri to Launch World’s First Cruise Ships Utilizing Hydrogen Power-

  • Both companies have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of two of the world’s first luxury cruise ships to utilize hydrogen-based power.

  • The new EXPLORA V and VI cruise ships will feature liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines that will address the methane slip issue and will use industry-first environmental technologies, such as a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable them to use this fuel.

  • Hydrogen fuel will power a 6 MW fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and will allow the vessels to operate on zero emissions in port, with the engines turned off.

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4. The World's First Operational 'Sand Battery' Can Store Energy For Months-

  • It's the first sand battery on a commercial scale.

  • A team of researchers from Finland has set up the world's first commercial-scale 'sand battery' that be used to store power generated from renewable sources for months at a time to solve the problem of year-round supply.

  • Just like conventional energy storage systems, when excess power is generated through renewable sources than is required, it is directed towards the sand battery. Instead of trying to move electrons from one electrode to the other or power pumps to send water to a higher reservoir, a sand battery uses resistive heating to increase the temperature of the air, which is then transferred to sand through a heat exchanger. With the melting temperature of the sand in hundreds of degrees Celsius, a tower of sand has a high potential to store energy. More importantly, sand store this energy for many months together, making it a viable long-term storage solution.

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5. Cooling Of ESG Euphoria Presents An Opportunity For Investors-

  • ‘Naive’ initial stage of ESG is over.

  • Markets are moving past the “euphoric and naive” initial stage of ESG investing and finally transitioning into a more “sober and realistic” assessment focused on fair value, said Mike Coop, CIO at Morningstar Investment Management EMEA.

  • "Many of the US stocks were very overvalued last year, across the range, but I think we started to see the more technology focused play start to return back to Earth. There has also been some degree of sell off in some of the transport related stocks that I think makes it a bit easier to invest in those," he said.

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One more thing: A Ted talk from former BlackRock CIO for Sustainable Investments now non-profit founder, Tariq Fancy explaining his mission to influence elected leaders to fix the rules of the economic games so that capitalism and financial markets better serve the public interest and further integrate purpose into investing philosophies.

Find the video here:

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