Edison’s Solar Power Prediction, Elon Musk’s $100 Billion Loss And Green Gas From Landfills

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.

One of the perks of working at Forbes is the fact that it’s been publishing for over one hundred years, which means that there is a wealth of history at your fingertips when you’re feeling curious about something. It was in that spirit this week that I found myself reading a 1929 interview with Thomas Edison, who then was 82 years old. Even at that age, Edison proclaimed himself to be an optimist about the future of electricity, an industry he described at the time as being a “yelling baby” in terms of its maturity.

Perhaps particularly of interest to the readers of this newsletter, Edison believed that “the time is coming when mankind will draw electrical energy on a large scale directly from the sun,” the article reads. For the great inventor, the amount of energy spilling to Earth every day in the form of sunlight was a massive opportunity and lamented that in his own time, harnessing that energy wasn’t possible. “As if we were beings who walked in a constant golden shower of money and yet were unable to stoop and pick up a single coin.”

The Big Read

BP Bets $4 Billion On Green Landfill Gas, Yielding Another Fat Payday For The ‘Shalennial’ Rice Brothers

Thanks to federal subsidies, sucking methane out of landfills is twice as profitable per unit of energy versus pumping oil—with zero carbon emissions.

Read more here.

Discoveries And Innovations

A new report finds that Germany’s decision to reduce its investment in wind energy in 2015 was a key factor in increasing its dependence on Russia for natural gas imports.

Colombian chemist Maria Camila Aguilera is working on catalysts based on iron for chemical manufacturing, which could open up cheaper, more abundant and less toxic alternatives to current palladium catalysts.

Fusion power company Tokamak Energy announced that it has the highest “triple product” result for its reactor to date, which is a key milestone in developing a commercial fusion power plant.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Better Battery Factory: Sila, which has commercialized silicon anodes that enable conventional lithium batteries to improve their capacity, was just granted $100 million from the Department of Energy to fund the build-out of its manufacturing facility.

Fighting Deforestation: A consortium of investment firms including Norfund, British International Investment and Finnfund have invested about $200 million into the African Forestry Impact Platform with an eye to reducing deforestation on the continent.

‘Narwhal’ Fund: Climate tech venture firm Propeller has launched its inaugural $100 million fund in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to invest in companies developing ocean-based sustainable technologies.

On The Horizon

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that this winter will see a third consecutive season of La Niña conditions. That likely means drier-than-average conditions across the south and wetter-than-average conditions for other reasons. This is also likely to expand drought conditions in the great plains and western states.

What Else We’re Reading This Week

This Barbie Used to Be Trash (Bloomberg)

If You Don’t Already Live in a Sponge City, You Will Soon (Wired)

Global CO2 emissions grew by less than a percent this year thanks to renewables (Popular Science)

Green Transportation Update

The race to electrify the auto market shows no sign of easing up in the near term as every major manufacturer commits to adding new zero-emission vehicles and making the batteries and motors they need. The latest to join the fray is German luxury giant BMW, which is pouring $1.7 billion to upgrade its Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant and churn out batteries at a new factory in the nearby Woodruff. The company says it will offer six electric models in the U.S. by 2030, ensuring more competition for EV leader Tesla.

The Big Transportation Story

Elon Musk’s Fortune Has Fallen By More Than $100 Billion In Less Than A Year

Elon Musk is still the world’s richest person, resulting from ownership of more than 20% of Tesla, but he’s taken a big financial hit owing to decidedly bearish stock market conditions. In fact, his fortune has fallen by more than $100 billion in less than a year owing to the drop in Tesla’s market value. In quarterly earnings reported this week, the electric carmaker’s revenue fell short of some analyst expectations. Add in worries about a possible recession, and investors are spooked. “He sells high-priced cars, so a recession will not be good for his business,” Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co., told Forbes.

Read more here.

More Green Transportation News

By The Numbers: Comparing Electric-Car Resale Values

Waymo Expanding Its Electric Robotaxi Service To Los Angeles

Classic Jaguar E-Types Offered As EVs

Jeep Goes All-Electric With Avengeance At Paris Motor Show

Europe’s Electric Revolution Demands Affordability, But Paris Car Show Won’t Oblige

For More Sustainability Coverage, Click Here.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2022/10/22/edisons-solar-power-prediction-elon-musks-100-billion-loss-and-green-gas-from-landfills/