Tesla’s co-founder is pioneering a circular system for electric vehicle batteries

September 2, 2020 by  
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Tesla’s co-founder is pioneering a circular system for electric vehicle batteries Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 09/02/2020 – 01:30 This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about electric vehicle batteries and the massive potential for battery recycling and reuse. As the market for electric vehicles takes off, that means eventually hundreds of millions of EV batteries will be in use and then face end of life. The industry needs to make the process of EV battery production, use, reuse and recycling much more efficient. Why? A few reasons: Battery materials are very valuable, and a lot of money is invested into pulling those metals out of the ground. The production of EV batteries is very wasteful, meaning companies are losing a lot of money through wasted materials. After electric car batteries aren’t very good at moving a car anymore, they can be taken and used for other applications, such as for the power grid, potentially for several years. EV batteries contain materials that can be toxic and need to be safely recycled and responsibly managed through end of life.  EV companies are trying to position themselves as green, and having more efficient and circular battery systems helps with the brand. The cost of EV batteries needs to get even cheaper to reach mainstream, and reuse of battery materials can reduce the cost of battery production.  One reason I’ve been thinking about this issue is because of our excellent event Circularity , which the GreenBiz team put on last week. Speakers across the three days emphasized the crucial nature of developing products and systems that reduce or even eliminate waste, leading to more profits and less pollution for the planet. Lithium-ion batteries are clearly a candidate for such innovative circular thinking.  Another reason battery reuse and recycling is coming to light this week is because of the emergence of Redwood Materials , a startup founded by former Tesla chief technology officer JB Straubel. The company, featured in a lengthy Wall Street Journal article over the weekend, has a plan to take scrap metal from EV battery production and use that for the raw materials of other EV batteries. By sourcing leftover materials from current factories, the company can help lower the cost of batteries and also reduce considerable waste. Redwood Materials is already working with Panasonic (Tesla’s battery partner) to take scrap metal from the Gigafactory in Nevada. Straubel says that in 10 years he thinks the company can deliver battery materials for half the cost of mined materials.  If you don’t know Straubel, he’s the young engineer who, almost 20 years ago, convinced Elon Musk that lithium-ion batteries would get cheap enough and powerful enough to move a car. The result was Tesla, and Straubel contributed so much to the company over the years that Musk coined him as a founder.  I, for one, am very excited to see the talented and passionate Straubel emerge from the Tesla/Musk juggernaut as a leader and entrepreneur in his own right.  I’ve also been thinking about circular EV batteries because I’m planning to host a conversation on this subjec t at our upcoming VERGE 20 event , which will run the last week in October. If you have ideas for speakers or framing on second-life batteries, drop me a note: katie@greenbiz.com .  Topics Transportation & Mobility Circular Economy Electric Vehicles Recycling Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Tesla’s co-founder is pioneering a circular system for electric vehicle batteries

Tesla revives its clean energy business with new version of its solar roof tiles

October 30, 2019 by  
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Tesla’s newly released version of solar roof tiles is promising to be a better green energy alternative. For one, it is easier to install than traditional shingles. Plus, these new Tesla tiles are more cost-effective than purchasing a new roof with separate solar panels. Because of the innovative upgrades, Tesla CEO Elon Musk optimistically projects the company will install 1,000 of these new solar roofs per week. Tesla ventured into the solar roof industry three years ago in partnership with SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. The most recently upgraded solar roof tiles are designed to look like normal roof tiles yet double as power-generating solar panels. Related: Newly-revealed Tesla solar roof patent shows the secrets behind the technology This newly unveiled solar roof tile is a third-generation version that features more refinements like increased size, beefed up power density, reduced components for better efficiency and improved roof edges that no longer require time-consuming “artisanal” fine-tuning onsite. The new solar roof tiles are made from tempered glass and are three times more durable than standard roofing tiles. As Musk explained, “With versions one and two, we were still sort of figuring things out. Version three, I think, is finally ready for the big time. And so, we’re scaling our production of the version three solar tower roof at our Buffalo Gigafactory. And I think this product is going to be incredible.” Tesla’s website offers two varieties of solar roof — a normal roof with solar panels and the third iteration of the textured glass shingle roof. Musk has touted the latter to be cheaper, easier and faster to install than its predecessors. The version three roof has a 25-year warranty, and its glass material can endure 130-mph winds and hail of up to 1.75 inches in diameter. Efficiency is the name of the game in the solar roof sector. Thus, for Tesla, the company plans to implement a “Tesla-certified installer” program that enlists outside roofers that are local to the client. Similarly, Tesla has optimized its roof installation so that the whole process should only span eight hours. Musk has said that orders for Tesla’s version three solar panels have risen as a response to the power outages caused by California utility PG&E repeatedly shutting off electricity to hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents to prevent wildfires . Tesla therefore is recommending homeowners go green to avoid these rolling blackouts. “We can make roofs come alive,” Musk shared. “There are all these roofs out there just gathering sunlight, but not doing anything with it. In the future, it will be odd for roofs to be dormant or not gathering energy.” + Tesla Via CNBC Image via Tesla

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Tesla solar panels now available to rent

August 23, 2019 by  
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If you’re looking to cut your electric bill by installing solar panels but are looking for an affordable option, Tesla may have the answer– rent them. Hoping to offer homeowners a better money-saving option by renting the streamlined panels, Tesla offers renters monthly payments, no installation costs, no long-term contracts and the ability to cancel monthly rental payments anytime. However, the company will charge a $1,500 fee to remove the system from your roof and return it to its original condition. Related: Chattanooga becomes first 100% solar-powered airport in US If customers were to sell their homes, Tesla offers a convenient contract transfer option that can be set up under the home’s new owner. The solar panel rental program is currently available to rent in six states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico. The Tesla panels come in three sizes starting at a small 3.8 kilowatt solar panel at $50 per month which generates an average of 10 to 14 kilowatt hours of energy per day; a medium 7.6 kWh for $100 per month, generates between 19 to 28kWh per day; or the large 11.4kWh option for $150 per month producing 29 to 41kWh per day. Keep in mind that the average U.S. household uses about 28 kilowatt hours of electricity per day While Tesla expects the solar panel renting to be a big hit, energy experts say the company wants to give customers the chance to rent panels as way to boost its struggling solar business. Earlier this year the company reportedly cut its solar panel prices and also allowed customers to purchase residential systems in increments. +Tesla.com Via Yale Environment 360 Image via Tesla

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Why batteries need artificial intelligence

August 21, 2019 by  
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From Toyota to Tesla to tech startups, improving battery life is key to unlocking sustainable transportation. Many see AI as the answer.

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Why batteries need artificial intelligence

Tesla hit with $86K fine for violating emission standards in California

April 4, 2019 by  
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Tesla just had to shell out thousands of dollars after losing a lawsuit over air pollution. The car company was hit with an $86,000 fine for violating emission standards in a facility based in Fremont, California . The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led the charge against Tesla , inspecting the manufacturing site with help from the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Bay Area Air Quality Management. The organizations found that Tesla failed to properly handle waste that should have been deemed toxic. Related: Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline According to Gizmodo , Tesla is now following proper protocols in the disposal of toxic waste. In the settlement, the car company agreed to pay off a $31,000 fine and purchase new equipment for local firefighters worth around $55,000. In total, Tesla forked over around $86,000 in fines. “The company has now corrected those violations and has provided training in hazardous waste management to more than 1,100 paint shop workers, technicians and supervisors,” the EPA explained. The settlement further revealed that Tesla failed to dispose of solvents and paints that were flammable. This includes not labeling waste and failing to properly secure containers. The company also did not adequately store and label waste that was toxic in nature. The EPA marked  Tesla for not having enough space in waste management areas as well. This is unfortunately not the first time Tesla has faced environmental violations. In 2010, the company received a $275,000 fine because of certification issues with the Tesla Roadster. Three years later, Tesla payed a $71,000 fine, because a few workers came in contact with molten aluminum. In 2019, the EPA issued the company a $29,000 fine for violating safety standards and a $139,000 fine for breaking pollution  laws. Because of the ongoing health and safety violations, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health just labeled Tesla among the most dangerous places to work in the United States. Although the company continues to face public scrutiny over its workplace standards, especially when it comes to toxic waste and air pollution , it refuses to allow workers to unionize. Via Gizmodo Image via FreePhotos

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Tesla hit with $86K fine for violating emission standards in California

A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

April 4, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based firm Atelier Oslo has created a beautiful home for a pair of artists who wanted to enjoy a peaceful retreat on the remote Norwegian island of Skåtøy. Built into the rocky landscape, the design for the House on an Island was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a place for contemplation in nature. The 7,500-square-foot glass cube features a prefabricated timber frame enveloped by a loosely gridded timber facade that filters the sunlight into playful shadows throughout the interior, emitting the calming feeling of sitting under a swaying tree. The home was built on a rugged landscape characterized by smooth and curved rocks that run down to the coastline. Although the rocky terrain was challenging, the architects managed to use it to their advantage. Using the large rocks as a base, the architects laid a concrete foundation that wraps around the rocks to mark the home’s layout, resulting in various split-levels that follow the contour of the natural topography. Built on a slight knoll, the home’s frame is made out of prefabricated timber . Related: Prefab CLT pavilion cleverly encourages dialogue at a Vancouver TED conference The main volume is a cube-like shape comprised of massive glass panels partially covered with a timber “netting.” The timber panels, which were made from heat-treated wood that will turn gray over time, covers the rooftop and drops down over the front facade. This system allowed the architects to truly embed the home into its natural surroundings. The timber slats are placed far apart, allowing filtered natural light and playful shadows to emit a calming atmosphere throughout the interior. The living space of the two-bedroom home is an open layout with modern furnishings. Again, using the home’s natural materials to enhance the atmosphere, Atelier Oslo emphasized natural wood and concrete for the interior design. Exposed wooden beams run the length of the ceilings, and concrete flooring gives the space a fun, industrial feel. Concrete was also used to craft an impressive fireplace and adjacent stairwell (which doubles as a bookcase) that leads to the top floor. + Atelier Oslo Via Dezeen Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Charlotte Thiis via Atelier Oslo

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A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

April 4, 2019 by  
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After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy , which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Locations differed in the rate of renewable energy capacity. Asia, for example, witnessed an increase in renewable energy by 11 percent, while Africa’s pace was a little above 8.4 percent. Also contributing the numbers is the fact that two-thirds of the power added last year came from renewable sources, and developing countries are leading the pack. Related: Amazon plans to reach net-zero carbon use by 2030 “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” the director of IRENA, Adnan Z. Amin explained. Renewable energy has been on the rise for past five years, and the numbers released in IRENA’s study show they are not slowing down. While the numbers are a positive sign for the future, Amin believes they need to increase at an even faster pace if we want to reach our global climate goals. New technology, of course, is the driving force behind renewable energy. Not only does technology make these energy sources possible, but it also makes them easier than ever to access. This includes the use of wind and solar energy, which contributed the most to energy capacities in 2018. Wind energy experienced a growth by around 49 GW while solar energy led the pack with an increase of 94 GW. While hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy, its growth has steadily declined over the years. Other notable sources include bioenergy , which saw growth in both China and the UK, and geothermal energy which increased in Turkey, Indonesia and the United States. Considering the fast growth rate of renewable energy, environmentalists hope the trend will continue for decades to come. If more and more countries continue to invest in renewable energy, we should be able to make great strides in curbing global carbon emissions over the next century. + IRENA Image via IRENA

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The Michael Pollan lens on transportation

March 27, 2019 by  
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Can healthy eating principles also foster a healthier transport evironment?

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The Michael Pollan lens on transportation

Tesla’s ‘game of pennies’ is all of us (in cleantech)

March 20, 2019 by  
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Love Musk or hate him, the attention on his struggles makes public the problems that most in cleantech face.

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Tesla’s ‘game of pennies’ is all of us (in cleantech)

GreenBiz Group announces first conference on the business of carbon removal

March 20, 2019 by  
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VERGE Carbon slated for October 22-24 in Oakland

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