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We want your feedback! Fill out our listener survey for a chance to win a $100 Patagonia gift card. In a funny twist of fate, solar’s success has made it old news. It’s the fastest-growing source of electricity in the world and one of the cheapest. But it’s far from the hot topic it was a decade ago when utility-scale photovoltaics were still an emerging technology. Now that it’s a more mature tool in the climate fight, we take it for granted. And yet there’s so much more we need to do. To reach net zero by 2050, we likely need to quadruple global solar capacity by 2030, according to projections by BloombergNEF (BNEF). But labor shortages, high material costs and interconnection bottlenecks stand in the way.  So how do we get there? In this episode Shayle talks to Jenny Chase, who managed BloombergNEF’s solar insights team for 17 years before leaving the role this month. Every year she tweets a thread of 50 not-always-popular opinions on solar, covering the state of the industry and the challenges it needs to solve. For this episode, Shayle picked the opinions he found most interesting and unpacked them with Jenny.  They cover Jenny’s opinions on: The biggest bottlenecks holding back solar deployment, like labor shortages, high polysilicon prices and grid interconnection backlogs Why we don’t need new technology breakthroughs in solar  Perovskite and building-integrated photovoltaics   How residential solar and battery salespeople are making up their savings projections How the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act could spur an unsustainable boom in solar and hydrogen equipment manufacturing Why leading forecasts could be underestimating solar deployment Recommended Resources: Twitter: Jenny Chase’s 2022 opinions-on-solar thread  Canary Media: What’s behind solar’s polysilicon shortage — and why it’s not getting better anytime soon Canary Media: Perovskites can make solar panels more efficient than silicon alone Bloomberg: Solar Outshines Wind to Lead China’s Clean-Energy Transition Bloomberg: Solar Growth Estimates for 2050 Are Aggressive, But Not Unrealistic Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick Capital, a trusted source for renewable energy investment banking servicing the US sustainability sector. Visit cohnreznickcapital.com to learn more.
We want your feedback! Fill out our listener survey for a chance to win a $100 Patagonia gift card. Join us on November 30 for a live, virtual episode of Climavores. Come ask a question about food, nutrition, and eating for the climate. Concrete is an incredible material. It’s essentially pourable rock, and we use it in almost every part of the built world. We also consume more of it than any other man-made material in the world—about three tons per person annually. And the secret ingredient in all this concrete? Cement. Think of it as the glue that binds the crushed rocks in concrete together.  But here’s the problem. Making cement emits lots of carbon. The cement industry alone produces 8% of global emissions.  Why? First, the process happens at 1500 degrees Celsius, a temperature so hot that companies often burn coal to reach it. Second, the chemical reaction involved in creating cement releases carbon dioxide.   So what are the solutions?  In this episode, Shayle talks to Leah Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Sublime Systems, a startup that has developed a novel way to produce cement at room temperature without releasing carbon dioxide. Shayle’s venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners is an investor in Sublime. Shayle and Leah discuss: The important properties of cement and why we use so much of it The chemistry of cement and why it releases carbon dioxide Alternative chemistries to Portland cement, the most common and useful formulation Things you can add to the mix, called supplementary cementitious materials, to offset some of the Portland cement required (like fly ash from coal-fired power plants) Adopting performance-based standards that allow more flexibility in the materials used in cement Replacing coal with electrification and alternative fuels in cement kilns  Post-combustion carbon capture for cement kilns CarbonCure’s technique for injecting carbon dioxide into concrete to increase strength and reduce the amount of cement required Sublime System’s electrochemical technique for manufacturing cement without carbon emissions Recommended Resources: The New York Times: Making the Concrete and Steel We Need Doesn’t Have to Bake the Planet Canary Media: Major construction firms team up to get the carbon out of concrete Bloomberg: Breakthroughs Are Helping Even Cement and Steel Go Electric E&E News: Congress wagered on ‘low-carbon’ concrete. Will it pay off? Canary Media: Cement is terrible for the climate. California just passed a law to fix that Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick Capital, a trusted source for renewable energy investment banking servicing the US sustainability sector. Visit cohnreznickcapital.com to learn more.
What’s not to love about heat pumps? Well… a few things, actually.  Don’t take this the wrong way: Heat pumps are magic. They heat. They cool. They’re way more efficient than gas boilers. Switching to one can save a household hundreds of dollars in energy bills and lots of carbon emissions. It's why governments are incentivizing and requiring them. But heat pump adoption has slowed nationally. It’s even declined in colder regions. What‘s holding it back? In this episode, Shayle talks to his colleague Andy Lubershane, managing director for research and innovation at Energy Impact Partners, a climatetech venture capital firm.  Andy and Shayle talk about the state of heat pump technology and what we need to fix to speed up adoption. They cover topics like: The relatively high upfront costs and messy customer journey to installation What mass adoption would do to peak demand on the grid in cold climates  How heat pumps dramatically ramp up electrical load in a typical home and on the grid Heat pumps powered by natural gas or hydrogen Plus, why Andy would be a great early adopter for any company that wants to pitch Shayle on solving these problems. Recommended Resources: US Department of Energy: Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge Canary Media: Heat pumps now required for new homes in Washington state Canary Media: One weird trick to make heat pumps boom Canary Media: Will tough standards for heat pump tax credits hurt adoption? Canary Media: Window heat pumps will help electrify New York City’s apartments Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick, a trusted partner for navigating the complex and evolving financial, tax and regulatory landscape of the renewable sector. Visit cohnreznick.com to learn more.
Want to build a power plant in the U.S.? Here are three things to know.  First, connecting a wind farm, utility-scale battery, or other big source of power to the grid means getting in line. A typical project’s wait time has increased from around two years in 2005 to four years in 2020, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Second, the interconnection queue is a crowded place. In 2020 there were 1.44 terawatts of projects in the queue. That’s more than the U.S.’s current fleet of generation. Third, dropouts are the norm. Only 25% of projects make it to completion. Projects withdraw from the queue for lots of reasons, but wait times are a big factor. During long waits, negotiations can fall apart and rights can expire, reports Emma Penrod of Utility Dive. Why the bottleneck and long queues? Lack of transmission is the single biggest factor. We need way more of it to bring power from rural areas with rich wind and solar potential to power-hungry population centers. But NIMBYism and a complex permitting process have slowed the construction of new transmission to a glacial pace. So while congress debates permitting reform, what technologies could help us get more energy on the wires? In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks to Liza Reed, electricity transmission Research manager for climate policy at the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington D.C. She’s also a grid fellow at Prime Movers Lab. Lara and Liza explore ways to expand transmission capacity: Replacing steel-reinforced lines with composite-core lines to carry more energy, known in the industry as “reconductoring” High-voltage direct current lines capable of sending lots of power long distances (a common solution in China but rare in the U.S.)  Running transmission lines underground, known as “undergrounding” Building lines along existing rights of way, such as highways High temperature superconductors, which involve cooling wires down to carry more power Line monitoring technology that analyzes local weather, wind and other factors to detect which lines are cooler than expected, allowing grid operators to send extra power through them Improving grid studies that determine what kinds of upgrades are needed for interconnection  Federal permitting reform, which might allow more new transmission to be built Resources: Utility Dive: Why the energy transition broke the U.S. interconnection system Volts Podcast: Transmission month: everything in one place Canary Media: Manchin’s permitting-reform bill splits Dems, pro-renewables groups Canary Media: New software can find more room for clean energy on transmission grids Canary Media: FERC has a new plan to connect clean energy to the grid more quickly Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Utilities in developing countries are juggling a complex set of problems: How to extend electricity to those who don’t have it; how to deploy large-scale power generation to power economic growth; and how to pursue these goals while decarbonizing.  In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks to Kate Steel, CEO of Nithio, a finance company focused on off-grid clean energy in Africa. Kate and Lara discuss the options for separating economic growth from fossil fuels. And she argues that we have the technology to develop low-carbon electrified economies in developing economies; we just need to deploy it. Lara and Kate weigh in on:  The tension between expanding access to low-cost power and attracting investment in large-scale baseload generation Why off-grid solar is often more economically viable than diesel generators for rural electrification How canceled power purchase agreements have stymied the development of renewables and how to solve these financing challenges  “Reverse” tech transfer from developing countries to developed ones, such as hyper-efficient appliances  Options for off-grid power, such as lanterns, microgrids, microhydro, biogas and liquefied petroleum gas canisters. How transportation may leapfrog fossil fuels in developing countries with electric motorbikes, buses and cars Recommended Resources: Canary Media: COP26 players pledge funding to shut down coal plants Bloomberg: A New Era of Climate Disasters Revives Calls for Climate Reparations Canary Media: Expanding solar access in Africa through artificial intelligence Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment: Roadmap to Zero-Carbon Electrification of Africa  Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick, a trusted partner for navigating the complex and evolving financial, tax and regulatory landscape of the renewable sector. Visit cohnreznick.com to learn more.
In this episode, produced in partnership with CohnReznick, we explore the market implications of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act is an incredibly important win for climate. It puts the U.S. back on the global stage as a serious climate negotiator. It puts the country within reach of a net-zero grid. And it will put hundreds of billions of dollars toward renewables, storage, carbon-capture, and hydrogen. In reality, it’s a very practical – and very complicated – tax bill. We support clean energy in America through the tax code, and this legislation builds on that framework in a big way. This episode was produced in partnership with CohnReznick and CohnReznick Capital.  CohnReznick’s Renewable Energy Industry Practice can help your business move forward by proactively addressing even your most complicated challenges and needs.  And CohnReznick Capital’s industry-leading investment banking team can help your company break through the dynamic and evolving sustainability sector by simplifying project finance, M&A, capital raising, and restructuring.
Europe’s hydrogen economy is so close to becoming a reality. Billions in public and private dollars are lining up to invest in a wave of newly planned hydrogen facilities. EU policymakers are finalizing new regulations and subsidies. And the region’s energy crisis–sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine–has accelerated the need for alternative energy sources like hydrogen. But an unexpected twist: The U.S. passed the Inflation Reduction Act, with subsidies for hydrogen production and far looser rules than those under consideration in Europe. Could Europe lose its hydrogen competitiveness? In this episode, Shayle talks to Gniewomir Flis, an independent hydrogen consultant. Previously he researched hydrogen at Agora Energiewende, a decarbonization think tank, and Energy Revolution Venture, a decarbonization venture capital firm. Gniewomir explains that some in Europe worry the U.S. might become a more attractive place to invest in hydrogen if the EU’s rules are too strict. This concern throws more complexity into an already difficult policy-making process. It’s causing EU policymakers to fight over proposed rules and investors to delay final decisions to greenlight European projects. Gniewomir and Shayle discuss questions like: What’s the evidence for the concerns about Europe’s competitiveness? What counts as renewable hydrogen in the proposed EU rules? They discuss the three key criteria that could be required for subsidies: additionality, temporal correlation and geographic correlation Which electrolyzer technology—proton exchange membrane (PEM), alkaline, or solid oxide—is best for which power generation technology, such as solar, gas, and wind? How will the proposed rules impact developing countries’ plans to export hydrogen to Europe? How do we transport hydrogen? They discuss options, such as metal hydride, ammonia, methanol and liquid (also known as cryogenic) hydrogen. Will China ultimately take over electrolyzer manufacturing, like it did for solar photovoltaic manufacturing? Recommended Resources: Agora Energiewende: 12 Insights on Hydrogen Guidehouse: Facilitating hydrogen imports from non-EU countries Florence School of Regulation: Green hydrogen: how grey can it be? The New York Times: Can This Man Solve Europe’s Energy Conundrum? Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick, a trusted partner for navigating the complex and evolving financial, tax and regulatory landscape of the renewable sector. Visit cohnreznick.com to learn more.
So you want to build an offshore wind farm. Are you prepared to manage the marine ecosystem impacts of construction? What about monitoring and protecting underwater electrical cables? Or maybe you want to decarbonize shipping. Do you know how to trace low-carbon fuel through ports or maintain storage tanks in marine environments? How about managing worker safety on the ocean? These are the kinds of questions that crop up at the intersection of climatetech and something called bluetech, the range of technologies that touch the oceans. And this marine-based expertise may prove invaluable to climate solutions.  In this episode, Shayle talks to Alissa Peterson, co-founder and chief executive officer of SeaAhead, an organization that supports and incubates bluetech companies. They survey a range of technologies, covering topics like: Alternative low-carbon fuels for shipping, such as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen Alternative proteins, fisheries and kelp Oceanic carbon removal, such as ocean alkalinity enhancement and sinking kelp to the bottom of the seabed  In the U.S., will big coastal infrastructure, like offshore wind, suffer the same fate as long-distance transmission lines, stalling in an overly strict regulatory environment? Recommended Resources: Canary Media: Zero-emissions cargo shipping catches on in cities and port communities Canary Media: Offshore wind installations surged threefold last year SeaAhead : Innovation in Offshore Wind Reverse Pitch MIT Technology Review: Companies hoping to grow carbon-sucking kelp may be rushing ahead of the science Catalyst is a production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick, a trusted partner for navigating the complex and evolving financial, tax and regulatory landscape of the renewable sector. Visit cohnreznick.com to learn more.
Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  There’s a buzz right now about paying farmers to trap and store emissions. Soil is a carbon sink, and certain farming practices accelerate carbon capture while others hurt it.  Enter soil carbon credits to incentivize sequestration through methods like cover cropping, no-till farming and agroforestry. These are practices often included under the umbrella of regenerative agriculture. So what does science say about how well these methods actually lock away carbon? In this episode, Shayle talks to Eric Slessarev, staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he studies soil carbon.  Eric says there’s a lot we don’t know about how well these practices actually work. There are even more fundamental questions like how much carbon is in the soil. Turns out dirt is pretty complicated. They cover things like: How exactly carbon gets into the soil and why it sticks around. The challenges with measuring soil carbon. The difference between soil carbon and enhanced weathering. How microbes, minerals and the depth of root systems affect storage. Specific practices like no-till farming, agroforestry and cover cropping. Why our soil carbon models may need a big update. Resources: Canary Media: Carbon storage gets dirty: The movement to sequester CO2 in soils International Soil Carbon Network Seminar Series: Towards a Durable Understanding of Soil Carbon as a Tool for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick, your comprehensive source for navigating the complex and evolving financial, tax and regulatory landscape of the renewable sector. Visit cohnreznick.com to learn more.
Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  Depending on which headlines you read, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will either hurt U.S. electric vehicle sales by replacing existing tax credits with complicated new ones or build out a North American battery supply chain and rev up EV sales. So which is it? In this episode, Shayle talks to Sam Jaffe, vice president of battery solutions at E-Source, about the key provisions of the IRA’s EV and battery tax credits. Sam explains how the IRA will spur a North American EV battery supply chain in the long run but will also create winners and losers along the way.  There’s a $30 billion pot of money for various tax credits and limited time to make use of them. Who will get to it first? There are already some early movers. Sam explains the key provisions: The EV components tax credit reduces the cost of EVs whose batteries contain materials assembled in the U.S. or its free-trade partner countries. This includes electrodes, electrolyte components and cells.  The strategic minerals tax credit reduces the cost of EVs whose batteries contain minerals mined and processed in the U.S. or its free-trade partner countries. These minerals include lithium, cobalt, and rare earth metals, among others. The 45X advanced manufacturing production credit reduces the cost of making batteries in the U.S. Certain credits ratchet up the percentage of materials required to qualify over several years. So once an EV model qualifies, it will have to maintain eligibility by getting a larger and larger share of its components and minerals from approved countries. They also cover which part of the battery industry will benefit more– the EV battery side or the stationary storage side. And Sam explains why he’s paying attention to the Treasury Department’s forthcoming guidance on the tax credits. Resources: The New York Times: For Electric Vehicle Makers, Winners and Losers in Climate Bill Canary Media: Private-sector reactions to the Inflation Reduction Act Canary Media: 6 clean energy companies that are ramping up US manufacturing   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  Winter is coming. The energy crisis that is afflicting Europe and other parts of the world is worsening as Russia weaponizes natural gas. This energy crisis has effects across climate tech, and so today we’re bringing you an episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, a podcast from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. On Catalyst, we don’t usually dig so deep into geopolitics and policy, but this crisis has big implications for markets, investment and technology.  After Russian President Vladimir Putin turned off supply of Russian gas through the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month, prices across Europe soared – causing severe pain for manufacturers and consumers, and pushing the region closer to recession. European countries are weighing emergency measures, like price caps and rationing. In addition to the immediate energy crisis, key questions remain about what all of this means for the clean energy transition. The supply of critical materials for clean energy technologies – such as copper, lithium, and cobalt – will also present challenges. A recent report by S&P Global predicted that demand for copper will double by 2035 as a consequence of the energy transition, and it is unclear if the existing supply chains can sustain such an increase.  How can governments and companies address the energy crisis without sacrificing progress on climate? And how might current and future supply shortages change the geopolitical landscape? This week, Columbia Energy Exchange host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Dan Yergin, an internationally known authority on energy, geopolitics, and economics. He sits on the boards of numerous institutions – including Columbia’s Center of Global Energy Policy. Dr. Yergin is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.” And his most recent book, “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations,” illustrates the greatest issues of geopolitics and energy today.  He is the Vice Chairman of S&P Global, and was the project Chairman for the report, “The Future of Copper: Will the looming supply gap short-circuit the energy transition?” Jason spoke with Dr. Yergin about the ongoing energy crisis, the supply of critical materials, and the future of energy superpowers. Resources: Simon & Schuster: The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power Penguin Random House: The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  We designed our power plants, refineries, and other energy infrastructure to depend on water. But not just any kind of water—water that’s available at the right quantity, quality, place and time. When water falls outside of this Goldilocks zone, energy systems can unravel, sometimes in unexpected ways. Low water levels strain hydroelectric and thermal power production and restrict coal shipments by river. Extreme cold freezes water in natural gas infrastructure, causing blackouts. Examples abound. The irony is that the energy system fuels climate change, which in turn fuels water problems for the energy system.  So how do we address these vulnerabilities as we decarbonize? And how can we build a resilient water-energy system in an increasingly chaotic climate? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival. Michael is a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas-Austin and chief technology officer at Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner.  They cover topics like: The surprising places we use water in energy, like extracting minerals and natural gas, growing crops for biofuels and sequestering carbon The ways energy improves the quantity and quality of water, allowing us to move water longer distances, reach deeper wells and desalinate water How to avoid exacerbating water problems as we decarbonize Whether cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear fusion will power wide-spread desalination Why the data on water systems is so scarce compared to energy systems How prescient the new Mad Max water-war movies are Resources: Yale University Press: Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival The New York Times: Europe’s Scorching Summer Puts Unexpected Strain on Energy Supply The New York Times: China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Drill down far enough anywhere in the world and you reach temperatures hot enough to generate firm, reliable zero-emission electricity. That’s the hope for new geothermal technologies that could scale the industry beyond well-known geothermal hot spots like Iceland. But first the industry needs to overcome major challenges in financing and technology. It has also to deal with the public opinion around the oil and gas industry, which may be an essential partner in scaling geothermal because of its overlapping expertise in drilling and underground exploration. In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks with Jamie Beard, executive director of Project Innerspace, a non-profit focused on expanding the use of geothermal energy globally.  Current geothermal technology relies on naturally occurring underground hot spots, common in places like Iceland and the western U.S.. But an approach called enhanced geothermal systems or “hot, dry rock,” would make geothermal available around the world, potentially adding hundreds of gigawatts to current geothermal capacity. Lara and Jamie discuss major questions facing the geothermal industry, like: How and where to drill for consistent hot temperatures?  How long before a well is depleted of heat-carrying capacity?  What sort of surveying and information do funders need to deal with exploration risks?  How can the industry take advantage of the co-benefits of geothermal drilling, such as lithium extraction, carbon sequestration and waste heat? What working fluids, like water or critical CO2, are appropriate for a given project? How viable are geothermal-source heat pumps and how do they compare to air-source heat pumps? What are the potential environmental impacts of geothermal? What role should the oil and gas industry play in scaling this zero-emission technology? Resources: Canary Media: Advanced geothermal heats up with $138M round for startup Fervo Energy Department of Energy: DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot to Slash the Cost of Geothermal Power Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Soil is a massive carbon sink that’s stored away emissions for centuries. But years of destructive farming practices have released much of this carbon. Could incentivizing farmers help restore—and expand—soil’s carbon-carrying capacity?  In theory, yes. But the market for soil carbon credits—literally paying farmers to improve their practices—needs serious reform.   In this episode, Shayle talks with Freya Chay, program manager for carbon removal at CarbonPlan. The fundamental problem is that the existing carbon credits don’t do what they say they will do: permanently lock away additional carbon. Freya and Shayle survey the big challenges of the market and explore potential fixes, covering questions like: How do we measure—using models, samplings and satellites—the amount of carbon in a plot of soil? What tools do we have to make sure the carbon will stay in the ground, such as buffer pools and ton-year accounting? The additionality question: Without the credit, would the carbon have been captured anyway? Or would it have remained locked away anyway? What role could third-party grading systems play in differentiating high-quality credits from low-quality ones? Resources: CarbonPlan: A buyer’s guide to soil carbon offsets CarbonPlan: Unpacking ton-year accounting Canary Media: Carbon storage gets dirty: The movement to sequester CO2 in soils Sylvera: Carbon Credit Ratings: Frameworks & Processes White Paper   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
In aviation, there’s a crowd of low-carbon technologies vying for a slice of the market. On one hand, the long-haul portion of the market will likely rely on sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) which still emit greenhouse gasses but could be offset to net-zero. On the other hand, there’s a big share of air traffic that could go completely zero-emissions with the help of batteries and hydrogen.  So how soon could you book a ticket on a zero-emissions flight? And what routes are possible? In this episode, Shayle talks with Jayant Mukhopadhaya, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Jayant recently authored two reports on electric aircraft and hydrogen aircraft. Shayle and Jayant dig in on some tough questions:  Can electric aircraft take incremental steps into the market given the limitations of current battery energy densities? Or do they need a technology breakthrough? How do hydrogen fuel cell, compressed hydrogen combustion, and liquid hydrogen combustion compare? How do airports need to prepare for hydrogen fueling? Hint: Terminal-sized upgrades. Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Resources: Canary Media: Can battery-powered airplanes decarbonize air travel?  Canary Media: How do we clean up air travel? Fuel from fast-food grease is just the start Bloomberg (video): Hydrogen May Be the Jet Fuel of the Future Catalyst: A bumpy ride toward decarbonizing aviation Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are moving quickly toward mass adoption. So how do we make sure that charging infrastructure keeps up? The people who own, operate and install chargers have some big questions to answer:  Can public chargers run a profit, and how do business models need to change to accelerate deployment? Why is it so hard to repair broken stations? Does it matter where we install new ones? When will chargers be as ubiquitous and easy to use as gas stations? In this episode, Shayle digs into these questions with colleague Cassie Bowe, partner at the venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners, where she focuses on mobility. Cassie outlines the trajectory of charger deployment over the years, comparing charger accessibility in the U.S, China and Europe.  Shayle and Cassie cover smart charging (also known as V1G) and V2G, as well as the commodification of charging hardware. Plus, how soon we might see wireless charging and why Shayle doesn’t have an EV yet.  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
The $369 billion climate and tax bill from Sen. Joe Manchin III and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer caught everyone by surprise. Democrats had abandoned their climate legislation last month after Manchin, a must-have vote for Democrats, signaled his opposition to it. But late last week Manchin and Schumer announced they had revived the deal under a new name – The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. If passed, it would be the most ambitious climate action in U.S. history. And now with support from another key swing vote, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the bill is an important step closer to passage. So what would the bill do? In this episode, Shayle talks to Princeton professor Jesse Jenkins. Jesse leads the REPEAT Project, which analyzed the effects of the bill in a report released today. Overall, the bill would make clean energy cheaper and build up the capacity of climatetech industries in the U.S. and its allies across multiple sectors of the economy, including power, transportation, heavy industry and buildings.  Shayle and Jesse walk through the key provisions in the proposed legislation and their predicted impacts, including: Hundreds of new gigawatts of solar and wind capacity, plus new technology-neutral tax credits to support other technologies such as advanced nuclear Building up a North American supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs) Reducing the costs of EVs, sustainable aviation fuels, energy storage, hydrogen and more Increased energy security for medium- and low-income households, such as installing heat pumps and insulation Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
We're bringing you something different today. It's an episode of one of our favorite podcasts, called Watt It Takes hosted by Emily Kirsch of Powerhouse Ventures.  We talk a lot on Catalyst about how to finance and build climatetech. What we don’t always get into are the personal stories of people who are trying to do that work. That’s exactly what Watt It Takes does. The show tells the stories of founders who are building a zero-carbon world — their upbringings, their risks, their failures, and their breakthroughs. This episode is about Neha Palmer, CEO of TeraWatt Infrastructure, which builds large-scale electric vehicle charging hubs for medium and heavy transport. Tens of millions of delivery vans and semi trucks move around the clock to keep supply chains humming. These medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up more than 25 percent of transportation emissions in the US — even though they only make up 10 percent of all vehicles on the road. We need to electrify medium and heavy-duty vehicles to meet our climate goals. But, how do we build and operate the charging infrastructure to power them? That charging network is exactly what TeraWatt Infrastructure is building. TeraWatt develops, owns, and manages charging infrastructure for these large vehicles. The company integrates hardware, software, and grid services along with on-site chargers. TerraWatt has a growing portfolio of land in strategic locations across the country that enables it to build and operate that charging infrastructure. TeraWatt brings together a team of experts from data centers, transportation logistics, and electric cars. The more complex the high-powered charging needs, the better suited TeraWatt is for the task. Watt It Takes host Emily Kirsch sat down with Neha to learn what it takes to electrify a sector with such massive energy demand. They talked about founding TeraWatt after Neha left Google, where she was a key figure in that company's ambitious renewable energy strategy. And they discuss the unique demands of heavy-duty transportation. Powerhouse is an innovation firm that works with leading global corporations to help them find, partner with, invest in, and acquire the most innovative startups in clean energy, mobility, and climate. Powerhouse Ventures backs seed-stage startups building innovative software to rapidly decarbonize our global energy and mobility systems. You can learn more at powerhouse.fund, and you can subscribe to our newsletter at https://www.powerhouse.fund/subscribe. If you like the show, subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
If there were a holy grail of electric vehicle batteries, it would be low-weight, long-range, and fast-charging. It would last a million miles and cost less than anything produced today. So in the booming EV battery market, what kind of battery will check all those boxes? Who will invent it? And do we really need all those features in one battery in the first place? In this episode, Shayle talks to Sam Jaffe, vice president of battery solutions at E-Source. They trace the history of the two major competing lithium-ion chemistries: Lithium Iron (or ferrous) Phosphate (LFP) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC). Sam and Shayle also discuss the factors that shaped this competition, like China, Tesla, and access to capital. They discuss new partnerships between battery manufacturers and automakers, including LG and GM, Samsung SDI and Stellantis, ACC and Mercedes And they cover questions like: Who decides which chemistries to develop — automakers or battery part manufacturers?  Will a small number of chemistries dominate or will there be a rapid diversification of battery chemistries to meet different needs? Is fast charging a nice-to-have or need-to-have? Will the rising costs of battery materials, especially lithium, slow the adoption of EVs?  Plus, Sam explains why he is no longer bearish on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
In climatetech, the ‘valley of death’ describes the lack of capital for newer solutions, especially those that mainstream investors view as unproven. The climate tech world is full of technologies that would be fantastic tools for fighting the climate crisis, if only they could cross this valley of death and scale. Scott Jacobs co-founded Generate Capital in 2014 to help address this problem. In this episode Shayle talks to Scott about how to successfully finance first-of-a-kind climatetech. They cover technologies like electric bus leasing, anaerobic digesters, microgrids and EV fleet charging infrastructure. And they dig in on: Winning over investors who don't have the time to understand complex technologies or business models The kinds of support, beyond capital, that first-of-a-kind technologies need from investors  Navigating the rising cost of capital and supply chain problems When exactly technologies have proven themselves in the eyes of investors Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
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