A Fusion Power Milestone, A South Carolina Battery Plant And Fuel-Cell Powered Semis

This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

Earlier this week, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that for the first time, it was able to create a nuclear fusion reaction that yielded more energy than it took to create the reaction. This represents a significant milestone towards fusion power, writes Forbes Energy Editor Chris Helman. But don’t count on this type of reaction to be what leads to an actual fusion power plant. That’s because the inefficiencies of the process being used by the lab would make it difficult to scale. That said, there’s a number of fusion energy products on the horizon that claim they’re close to potential commercialization–perhaps even by the end of the decade, if everything goes right. You can read more about them in this story.

A quick housekeeping note: This will be the last edition of Current Climate for the year as we go into the holiday season. We’ll return with the latest in sustainability news on January 7.

The Big Read

The Dumb Money Driving The Plant-Based Meat Boom

In an exclusive excerpt from Raw Deal, the new book by Forbes Food & Drink Editor Chloe Sorvino, investors see companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods as a way to help save the planet. The problem is, they also want to get rich. Instead, they may die trying.

Read more here.

Discoveries And Innovations

Robots made by Kansas-based GreenField aim to help farmers reduce the need for herbicides by automating weeding in the fields.

A new analysis suggests that being exposed to heat waves or extremely cold weather increased people’s risk of death from heart disease.

A new study suggests there may be vastly more microplastics in the atmosphere than previously estimated.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Biodiversity: London-based Basecamp Research just raised a $20 million Series A round to accelerate its plans to build the world’s largest database of naturally-occurring DNA sequences.

Carbon Capture: NET Power, a company that is developing natural gas power plants that capture their own emissions to keep them from entering the atmosphere, will be going public via a SPAC deal with Rice Acquisition Corp II in a deal valuing the company at $1.46 billion.

On The Horizon

To help decarbonize electrical grids, many places around the world are turning to hydropower. But there’s a problem: as climate change drives more droughts, water levels in rivers may prevent hydropower from being a possible solution.

What Else We’re Reading This Week

The nation’s largest water supplier declares a ‘drought emergency’ ahead of 2023 (Popular Science)

Cleaner Jet Fuel Is Poised for Takeoff (Scientific American)

Energy crisis: five questions that must be answered in 2023 (Nature)

Green Transportation Update

JB Straubel was crucial for Tesla’s success, leading the development of its battery packs and motors that made the company the industry standard for fast, long-range electric cars and overseeing the construction and operation of its massive battery Gigafactory in Nevada. These days he’s focused on a big challenge: large-scale recycling of spent batteries and electronics to recover high-value materials and then use them to make anodes and cathodes for new EV battery packs. Redwood Materials, his fast-moving startup, is taking a big step to accelerate that effort with plans for a $3.5 billion closed-up recycling and battery materials plant near Charleston, South Carolina, that will be the biggest such facility of its type when it fully opens in a couple years. Along with a similar $1.1 billion plant under construction in Nevada, Redwood could help the U.S. catch up to China as a global battery powerhouse.

The Big Transportation Story

Nikola And Plug Power Form Green Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Truck Supply Partnership

Tesla recently delivered its first electric big rigs to Pepsico/Frito Lay. The Tesla Semi shows some impressive statistics for power and range, though its biggest benefit will be low emissions. But at 1.7kWh/mile, it may cost more than desired to charge it, unless you make sure to charge it at good prices.

Read more here.

More Green Transportation News

The EV Climate Is Warming From All Angles With New Competition, Tax Breaks

Ford again hikes the starting price of the F-150 Lighting pickup, now up 40% since launch

Europe’s Electric Car Revolution Is Underway, But Dissenters Expect Trouble

Arcimoto, Faction, GoCar Partner For Three-Wheel Robo Tour Cars

Elon Musk Gets Booed At Comedy Show — How Much Is That Hurting Tesla Stock?

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2022/12/17/a-fusion-power-milestone-a-south-carolina-battery-plant-and-fuel-cell-powered-semis/