New Project to Support 24×7 Power for All in Andhra Pradesh, India

WASHINGTON, MAY 26, 2017 – The World Bank will support the Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24×7 power to its citizens.

The $240 million Andhra Pradesh 24×7 Power for All Project, approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors today will help build new transmission and distribution infrastructure, as well as put in place systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities.  The project will help bring in modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations and network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction.

While a significant portion of the proposed investments are aimed at improving power supply to rural areas, the project will also focus on demonstrating the deployment of smart grids in selected towns.

The project is part of the Government of India’s Power for All program launched in 2014. Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states selected for the rollout of the Power for All program. According to the Andhra Pradesh Power for All document the energy demand in the state is expected to grow to 78,900 GWh (Gigawatt-hour) by FY 2019 from 56,313 GWh in FY 2015, which implies an annual energy requirement of more than 8.5%. Substantial investments will be needed to meet this rising demand.

By increasing the supply of reliable electricity to households, industries, businesses and various other productive sectors, the project will contribute to economic development, poverty alleviation, and inclusive growth in Andhra Pradesh, said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “Around half of the proposed investments are targeted towards improving power supply in rural areas, thus providing opportunities to increase household incomes and standards of living for some of the poorer communities in India,” he added.

Some of the major components of the project include strengthening of the intra-state transmission and distribution network to disperse power to the load centers in the state.  While overall AT&C loss levels in Andhra Pradesh are low in comparison to many states, losses in a few rural districts are high. The state is planning measures like a High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) in selected rural areas supported by the project. The distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh are ahead of many of their peers in deploying ICT based technologies. Under this project they now plan to move to the next level by developing a power distribution grid which will help monitor and improve the operational efficiency of the system.

The project will also support smart consumer meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns. These meters will not only reduce technical and commercial losses, but also improve peak load management. The meters are expected to provide consumers with better access to data which will encourage them to reduce their electricity consumption.

“Since 2014, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has taken significant steps to improve the power sector in the state. By supporting the government’s plans for improving the commercial performance of its distribution companies, the project will go a long way in helping Andhra Pradesh move into a higher growth trajectory,” said Mani Khurana, Senior Energy Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project. “The smart grid interventions under the project will demonstrate positive impacts on reliability and network management which can inform the design of similar projects in other states.” she added.

The $240 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.

The project is being co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The World Bank and AIIB will provide loans in a 60:40 ratio for all components of the project.

In Mexico City, Veolia will build and operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America

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Veolia, through its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico S.A. de C.V., has won the public call for tenders published by the government of Mexico City and just signed the contract to Design, Build, and Operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America. With a capacity twice that of the largest facility in France, this unit will treat around 1.6 million metric tons of household waste a year. The 30 year operation and maintenance contract of this facility will represent an estimated cumulative revenue of 886 million euros for Veolia.

Jointly with leading global and Mexican companies, Veolia will build and operate the first waste to energy plant in Latin America. It must be said that each day, the inhabitants of Mexico City generate 13,000 metric tons of waste. Untreated, this waste would cover the city’s central square, Plancha Zocalo, to a depth of one meter. At present, two-thirds of this waste is landfilled.
 
This new waste to energy facility will provide an efficient alternative for treating the waste from this city of 10 million people. Each day, it will convert about one-third of the city’s household waste into green energy. The 965,000 MWh of electricity produced each year by the plant will be used directly by the Mexico City Subway Metro.
 
Gustavo Migues, Executive Vice President Latin America at Vesolia, explains: “Today, waste can become a valuable resource. In this instance, Mexico City will favor the treatment of waste and the production of renewable energy. We are delighted to have been selected for this truly significant project, through which we will contribute to improving the quality of life of the citizens of Mexico City and their essential services, while also helping fight climate change.” He adds: „What we are going to do in Mexico City is the demonstration that our expertise in waste management – one of Veolia’s core business – has a bright future ahead of it. The needs in Mexico, and more widely in Latin America, are such that we have a huge potential for development „.
 
The plant’s construction is due to begin in 2017 and will last 3 years. Operations are scheduled to start in 2020.
 
Active for 25 years in Mexico, Veolia serves 13 million people in the country and employs 3,000. Veolia treats 2.3 million metric tons of waste a year and provides 800,000 people with a waste collection service. With 500 million cubic meters of drinking water produced annually, Veolia Mexico meets the needs of the residents of 20 Mexican cities. 
 

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Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 30 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy.
Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.39 billion in 2016.

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In Mexico City, Veolia will build and operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America

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Veolia, through its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico S.A. de C.V., has won the public call for tenders published by the government of Mexico City and just signed the contract to Design, Build, and Operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America. With a capacity twice that of the largest facility in France, this unit will treat around 1.6 million metric tons of household waste a year. The 30 year operation and maintenance contract of this facility will represent an estimated cumulative revenue of 886 million euros for Veolia.

Jointly with leading global and Mexican companies, Veolia will build and operate the first waste to energy plant in Latin America. It must be said that each day, the inhabitants of Mexico City generate 13,000 metric tons of waste. Untreated, this waste would cover the city’s central square, Plancha Zocalo, to a depth of one meter. At present, two-thirds of this waste is landfilled.
 
This new waste to energy facility will provide an efficient alternative for treating the waste from this city of 10 million people. Each day, it will convert about one-third of the city’s household waste into green energy. The 965,000 MWh of electricity produced each year by the plant will be used directly by the Mexico City Subway Metro.
 
Gustavo Migues, Executive Vice President Latin America at Vesolia, explains: “Today, waste can become a valuable resource. In this instance, Mexico City will favor the treatment of waste and the production of renewable energy. We are delighted to have been selected for this truly significant project, through which we will contribute to improving the quality of life of the citizens of Mexico City and their essential services, while also helping fight climate change.” He adds: „What we are going to do in Mexico City is the demonstration that our expertise in waste management – one of Veolia’s core business – has a bright future ahead of it. The needs in Mexico, and more widely in Latin America, are such that we have a huge potential for development „.
 
The plant’s construction is due to begin in 2017 and will last 3 years. Operations are scheduled to start in 2020.
 
Active for 25 years in Mexico, Veolia serves 13 million people in the country and employs 3,000. Veolia treats 2.3 million metric tons of waste a year and provides 800,000 people with a waste collection service. With 500 million cubic meters of drinking water produced annually, Veolia Mexico meets the needs of the residents of 20 Mexican cities. 
 

……….

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 30 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy.
Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.39 billion in 2016.

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In Mexico City, Veolia will build and operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America

Veolia's picture

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Veolia, through its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico S.A. de C.V., has won the public call for tenders published by the government of Mexico City and just signed the contract to Design, Build, and Operate the first Waste to Energy facility in Latin America. With a capacity twice that of the largest facility in France, this unit will treat around 1.6 million metric tons of household waste a year. The 30 year operation and maintenance contract of this facility will represent an estimated cumulative revenue of 886 million euros for Veolia.

Jointly with leading global and Mexican companies, Veolia will build and operate the first waste to energy plant in Latin America. It must be said that each day, the inhabitants of Mexico City generate 13,000 metric tons of waste. Untreated, this waste would cover the city’s central square, Plancha Zocalo, to a depth of one meter. At present, two-thirds of this waste is landfilled.
 
This new waste to energy facility will provide an efficient alternative for treating the waste from this city of 10 million people. Each day, it will convert about one-third of the city’s household waste into green energy. The 965,000 MWh of electricity produced each year by the plant will be used directly by the Mexico City Subway Metro.
 
Gustavo Migues, Executive Vice President Latin America at Vesolia, explains: “Today, waste can become a valuable resource. In this instance, Mexico City will favor the treatment of waste and the production of renewable energy. We are delighted to have been selected for this truly significant project, through which we will contribute to improving the quality of life of the citizens of Mexico City and their essential services, while also helping fight climate change.” He adds: „What we are going to do in Mexico City is the demonstration that our expertise in waste management – one of Veolia’s core business – has a bright future ahead of it. The needs in Mexico, and more widely in Latin America, are such that we have a huge potential for development „.
 
The plant’s construction is due to begin in 2017 and will last 3 years. Operations are scheduled to start in 2020.
 
Active for 25 years in Mexico, Veolia serves 13 million people in the country and employs 3,000. Veolia treats 2.3 million metric tons of waste a year and provides 800,000 people with a waste collection service. With 500 million cubic meters of drinking water produced annually, Veolia Mexico meets the needs of the residents of 20 Mexican cities. 
 

……….

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 30 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy.
Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.39 billion in 2016.

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SCC SETS SCHEDULE TO CONSIDER TWO DOMINION ENERGY VIRGINIA RATE REQUESTS

RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) will hold two hearings in June to receive public testimony in two cases involving rate adjustments proposed by Dominion Virginia Power, which was recently renamed Dominion Energy Virginia.

The first request to be considered by the SCC in case PUR-2017-00058 is a proposed increase in the company’s fuel rate, the portion of the electric bill that pays for the cost of fuel used to generate electricity and power purchased from other utilities and power producers.

The revised fuel rate of 2.383 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) will be placed into effect for usage on and after July 1, 2017. If approved by the SCC, the fuel factor adjustment will increase the typical monthly residential bill for a customer using 1,000 kWh by $4.12. Public comments are due June 13, 2017. A public hearing in Richmond is scheduled for June 14 at 10 a.m.

In case PUR-2017-00057, the SCC will consider a proposed rate adjustment to recover costs primarily for electric transmission service provided to Dominion Energy Virginia by a regional transmission entity. If approved, the typical monthly bill of a residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would decrease by $2.07 on September 1, 2017.

The proposed adjustment for transmission costs would offset almost half of the increase due to the revised fuel factor, with the net effect of the two adjustments being an increase of $2.05 in the typical monthly bill illustrated above. Public comments in case PUR-2017-00057 are due June 22, 2017. A hearing is scheduled for June 29 at 10 a.m.

The hearings will be held in the SCC’s courtroom on the second floor of the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street in downtown Richmond. Persons wishing to comment at the hearings should arrive early and notify the SCC bailiff.

Written comments on any of these requests may be sent to the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission, Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2118. Please refer to the proper case number.

Persons desiring to submit comments electronically may do so at the SCC’s website at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case. Click on the PUBLIC COMMENTS/NOTICES link, find the correct case number, and hit the SUBMIT COMMENTS button for that specific case.

Gartner Says Artificial Intelligence Could Turn Some Skilled Practices Into Utilities

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By 2022, Smart Machines and Robots May Replace Highly Trained Professionals in Tasks Within Medicine, Law and IT

CIOs have a major role to play in preparing businesses for the impact that artificial intelligence (AI) will have on business strategy and human employment, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that by 2022, smart machines and robots may replace highly trained professionals in tasks within medicine, law and IT.

„The economics of AI and machine learning will lead to many tasks performed by professionals today becoming low-cost utilities,” said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow. „AI’s effects on different industries will force the enterprise to adjust its business strategy. Many competitive, high-margin industries will become more like utilities as AI turns complex work into a metered service that the enterprise pays for, like electricity.

The effects that AI will have on the enterprise will depend on its industry, business, organization and customers. Mr. Prentice cited the example of a lawyer who undergoes a long, expensive period of education and training. Any enterprise that hires lawyers must pay salary and benefits big enough to compensate for this training for each successive lawyer it hires. On the other hand, a smart machine that substitutes for a lawyer also requires a long, expensive period of training. But after the first smart machine, the enterprise can add as many other smart machines as it wants for little extra cost.

Financial services is another industry where jobs such as loan origination and insurance claims adjustment could be automated. However, while AI will hit employment numbers in some industries, many others will benefit as AI and automation handle routine and repetitive tasks, leaving more time for the existing workforce to improve service levels, handle more challenging aspects of the role and even ease stress levels in some high-pressure environments.

CIOs Need to Prepare the Enterprise for Changes in Hiring Priorities

„Ultimately, AI and humans will differentiate themselves from each other,” said Mr. Prentice. „AI is most successful in addressing problems that are reasonably well-defined and narrow in scope, whereas humans excel at defining problems that need to be solved and at solving complex problems. They bring a wide range of knowledge and skill to bear and can work through problems in various ways. They can collaborate with one another, and when situations change significantly, humans can adjust.”

CIOs should use the enterprise’s five-year vision to develop a plan for achieving the right balance of AI and human skills. Too much AI-driven automation could leave the enterprise less flexible and less able to adjust to a changing competitive landscape. This approach will also help reassure employees about where and how AI will be used in the organization.

AI Will Challenge the CIO to Restructure IT Operations

AI will eventually replace many routine functions of the IT organization, particularly on the operations side, such as in system administration, help desk, project management and application support.

Some roles will disappear, but AI will improve some skills shortages, and the IT organization as a whole will increasingly focus on more creative work that differentiates the enterprise.

„The CIO should commission the enterprise architecture team to identify which IT roles will become utilities and create a timeline for when these changes become possible,” said Mr. Prentice. „Work with HR to ensure that the enterprise has a plan to mitigate any disruptions that AI will cause, such as offering training and upskilling to help operational staff to move into more-creative positions.”

Gartner clients can learn more in the report, „Prepare for When AI Turns Skilled Practices Into Utilities.” This research is part of the Gartner Trend Insight Report, „Digital Business Success Depends on Civilization Infrastructure,” a collection of research focused on civilization infrastructure to help CIOs ensure that their enterprise’s business strategy fits a digital society.

Learn more about CIO leadership and how to drive digital innovation to the core of your business at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using.

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Veolia wins three energy services contracts with industrial clients in China for a total of 864 million

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These three energy sector contracts confirm Veolia’s position as an energy services specialist in for industrial clients in China. The company will provide a suite of solutions based on its expertise in this sector, to improve its clients’ energy performance and to help them comply with the regulations for the new Chinese environmental standards.

Signed respectively for 10, 20 and 25 years, these three contracts, concluded by its subsidiary Veolia China Holding, are:
 

  • Energy performance management at the site of Hongda Chemical, a subsidiary of one of China’s leading chemicals industry groups

 
This €335 million contract includes financing and installing a best-in-class system for managing and optimizing a steam production plant. Veolia’s solutions will result in the following benefits for the client Hongda Chemical: cost savings, compliance with the new regulations for greenhouse gas emissions, and a sufficient quantity of steam and demineralized water for the smooth operation of its business.
A team of 130 people will be assigned to this contract.
 

  • The construction and operation of a chilled water plant for a data center in one of China’s main IT hubs, a platform specifically designed for big data.

 
The Veolia solutions provided for the client, a Chinese publishing company, will enable it to comply with new standards introduced in Beijing requiring a strict Power and Water Usage Effectiveness. This metric is used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. This legislation will be gradually rolled out to the entire country, brining stricter requirement on the power consumption by the IT systems versus the total power consumed by the entire data center. It effectively measures the eco-responsibility of the data center operation. With this €188 million contract, Veolia has gained ground-floor entry on the market for energy services for data centers, the number of which is growing rapidly driven by strong Internet usage in China.
A team of 20 people will be assigned to this contract.
 

  • The production of electricity and steam from biomass for chemicals and construction manufacturing clients

 
Worth €341 million, this contract covers the construction, operation and maintenance of a biomass plant in Hebei Province. Located in China’s northeast, this province has enjoyed buoyant growth in the last few years resulting in a strong and sustained demand for steam. This resource, used as an alternative to coal in industrial production processes, and supplied by Veolia at competitive rates, enables industrial clients to continue with their transition towards using a higher proportion of renewables in their energy mix. In this instance, renewables will account for up to 80% by the end of the contract.
A team of 65 will be assigned to the site operation and maintenance teams.
 
 
 
For Régis Calmels, Senior Executive Vice-President of Asia, “This win of three new contracts in the Energy sector is an evidence of C​hinese industries’​ growing need of renewable energies and effective energy management​. The regulation continuously becomes tighter​ and, as a result, industries​ must reduce their environmental footprint. And this merely creates more excellent opportunities for Veolia.”
 

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Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 30 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.39 billion in 2016.

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TVA Efficiency Efforts Increase Net Income

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority reported net income of $313 million for the first half of fiscal year 2017 – $32 million higher than for the same period last year.

These results demonstrate that TVA remains on track in operating more efficiently and keeping rates low,” TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said. “We’ve been able to complete major capital projects that provide clean, reliable and affordable energy for the seven-state Tennessee Valley region while managing our debt, even with a decline in electricity sales.”

Sales in the second quarter of fiscal year 2017 were down by about 7 percent compared to the same period in 2016, driven mainly by milder winter weather. When comparing first half fiscal year 2017 to 2016, sales were about one percent lower this year.

TVA’s revenues increased five percent, or $242 million, for the six months ended March 31, 2017, compared to the same period in the prior year. This was due to higher base rates and higher fuel cost recovery revenues. Fuel and purchased power expense increased $109 million for the period due to higher effective fuel rates, driven by changes in the mix of generation resources, including significantly less hydroelectric generation, and higher market prices for natural gas.

“TVA’s generation fleet continues to become more diversified and this is helping us provide low-cost energy in a reliable and efficient manner,” Johnson said. “With the drought conditions we experienced in the first half of the year, which limited power production from our dams, Watts Bar Nuclear Unit 2 played an important role in keeping costs low.”

Watts Bar Unit 2 entered commercial operation on October 19, 2016, and was the nation’s first new nuclear unit in the 21st Century. In addition, a new gas-fired generation facility at TVA’s Paradise Fossil Plant site in Kentucky began commercial operation on April 7, 2017. The new combined cycle facility will help ensure continued reliability in western Kentucky and the TVA region.

Non-fuel operating and maintenance expenses for the first six months were up by approximately two percent, or $31 million, from the same period in 2016, attributable to an increase in planned nuclear refueling outage days.

“TVA’s effective rates are lower today after several years of improving efficiencies of our operations, and reducing annual operating expenses by over $800 million,” said TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas. “We are maintaining that momentum in 2017, focusing on off-setting inflationary pressures with efficiencies.”

TVA executive management will host a conference call to discuss second quarter fiscal year 2017 results at 9:30 a.m. EDT, on Tues., May 2, 2017. The conference call can be accessed from TVA’s website via webcast, at www.tva.com, on the Investor Relations home page. For quicker access to the live conference call, please pre-register through TVA’s website before the scheduled start time, and follow the instructions provided. Once pre-registered, the dial-in number will be provided via an email. If you are unable to pre-register, you may access the conference call by dialing toll free 866-777-2509 in the United States, or 412-317-5413 outside the United States.

A replay will be available one hour after the end of the conference call until 9:30 a.m. EDT, May 2, 2018, by calling toll free 877-344-7529 in the United States or 412-317-0088 outside the United States and using the conference number 10095180. A webcast replay and transcript will also be available for one year on TVA’s website at www.tva.com/investors.

TVA’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q provides additional financial, operational and descriptive information, including unaudited financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. TVA’s quarterly report and other SEC reports are available without charge on TVA’s website at www.tva.com/investors, on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or by calling TVA toll free at 888-882-4975.

This release may contain forward-looking statements relating to future events and future performance. Although TVA believes that the assumptions underlying these statements are reasonable, numerous factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Please refer to TVA’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for a discussion of factors that could cause actual results to differ from those in the forward-looking statements.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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Diamond highlights damage pathways in lithium-ion batteries

Researchers from University College London (UCL), the NASA-Johnson Space Center, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Warwick and the National Physical Laboratory have used Diamond’s I12 beamline to investigate how lithium-ion batteries behave under short-circuit conditions.

“Lithium-ion batteries are ubiquitous in today’s society and are used in a range of applications from mobile phones to electric vehicles,” explains first author, Donal Finegan, who is based at UCL. “Although rare, lithium-ion batteries can and do fail, sometimes catastrophically, and these failures often complete within 1-2 seconds and involve a lot of movement and dynamics.

To induce failure, the team inserted a device capable of generating an internal short circuit on-demand and at a pre-determined location into commercially available Li-ion batteries. The team used the device to gain insight into cell design vulnerabilities by causing cell walls to rupture or cells to burst open. Using high-speed X-ray imaging, researchers monitored what happened to the structure of the cells in real-time, as the short circuit drove the catastrophic failure process that propagated through cells and modules.

Individual cells, as well as small cell modules, were tested at Diamond and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France under conditions that represented a worst-case battery failure scenario. Short circuits were initiated inside the batteries at ~60 ˚C. During the failure process, cell temperatures reached in excess of 1085 ˚C.

“After visiting ESRF and processing the data, we discovered that with a little more work and additional experiments we could create a much more comprehensive study,” continues Finegan. “Fortunately we were able to get the beamtime at Diamond where we could build on the earlier work we’d done at ESRF.”

“The exceptionally high-intensity X-ray flux at Diamond provides the high-speed imaging capability necessary to capture such rapid events in real time,” adds Michael Drakopoulos, Principal Beamline Scientist on the I12: Joint Engineering, Environmental, and Processing (JEEP) beamline. “This allows our users to study, in detail, the fastest failure mechanisms of commercial cell designs, and use the results to guide design-improvements for higher performance and safe lithium ion batteries.”

From analysing the high-speed imaging frame by frame, the team looked at the effects of gas pockets forming, venting and increasing temperatures on the layers inside two distinct commercial Li-ion batteries and identified consistent failure mechanisms.

The team now plans to examine how these new insights can be used to improve the safety of commercial battery and module designs. For example, researchers will study how the rupture of the highest energy density commercial cells can be prevented and how to reduce the risk of cell-to-cell propagation.
 

HSBC tightens environmental targets

By 2020 HSBC aims to cut office waste by 75 per cent compared to 2011

HSBC is setting more challenging environmental targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, boost the proportion of its electricity that comes from renewables, and use resources more efficiently.

The bank first set out a strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its operations in 2012, along with a series of targets for the year 2020. The new goals show the progress the bank has made since then – and its ambition to go further. Among the updated targets for 2020, HSBC aims to:

  • Cut annual carbon emissions per full-time employee to 2.0 tonnes from the baseline of 3.5 tonnes established in 2011

  • Source 40 per cent of electricity from renewables, up from the previous target of 25 per cent

  • Reduce waste from offices by 75 per cent compared with 2011, up from 50 per cent

  • Reduce paper use by 66 per cent compared with 2011, up from 50 per cent

In addition, HSBC is introducing a new target to reduce water consumption by 50 per cent compared with 2011. This supports the work of the HSBC Water Programme, an eight-year partnership between the bank and three leading non-governmental organisations that aims to protect freshwater sources and provide access to safe water and sanitation.

The updated targets are explained in HSBC’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Update, a new report that the bank is publishing today.

In some areas HSBC is very close to, or has already reached, its initial targets for 2020. Agreements are already in place, or signed, to source 23 per cent of electricity from renewables, for example, while total office waste is down 57 per cent compared with 2011 levels.

Innovation inspired by employees

HSBC encourages employees to suggest ideas that could help reduce the bank’s environmental footprint. An eco-efficiency fund provides grants for pilot projects of the most promising ideas. Local schemes supported over recent years include:

  • Fitting photovoltaic panels

  • Introducing a range of measures to improve the energy efficiency of IT data centres

  • Switching the HSBC cars in Malta to electric vehicles

  • Installing flow control devices on taps to stop water waste