A Good Year for the Net Zero Roses: EnergyTech's Best-Read stories from 2022

Dec. 28, 2022
Clearly the most popular subject this year was the rush of announcements around siting battery storage technology manufacturing in the U.S., but you also expressed great interest in carbon capture, hydrogen, nuclear energy, safety issues and microgrids
I’m a bit of an archivist, although a distinctly unorganized one, who loves to go back in time and see what history has to say. Does that make me an anarchist archivist? Maybe. History is messy, too.

In the journalism field, though, we are so often focused on the day at hand that we miss the perspective that the past year brings. For that reason, I’ve gone through our Google Analytics to ferret out the most read stories at EnergyTech.com in 2022.

The verdict: You are a well-rounded audience intrigued by the C&I Energy Transition (CIET) in its multitude of forms. Clearly the most popular subject this year was the rush of announcements around siting battery storage technology manufacturing in the U.S., but you also expressed great interest in carbon capture, hydrogen, nuclear energy, safety issues around energy storage and microgrids.

Remember we at EnergyTech are only about 16 months old, so our audience and reach are in the infancy stages. We will work intensely to cover e-mobility, energy storage, renewables, microgrids and other distributed energy resources, hydrogen, fuel cells, carbon capture, liquified natural gas (LNG) and all facets of the CIET in coming years.

To some eye rolls and self acclaim, I am the resounding gong for the notion there are “Many Paths to Net Zero.” The wind and the sun and lithium-ion are awesome resources, but so might be nuclear fission, green hydrogen and carbon utilization if we can figure out cost-effective, clean and safe ways to do it all.

So let’s get to it and show off the top 10 best-read stories this year at EnergyTech.com.

1.      Envision AESC building 30-GWh EV Battery Gigafactory in Kentucky

In April, Japanese electric vehicle technology firm Envision AESC announced it would invest $2 billion to build a 30-GWh gigafactory manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Envision announced other initiatives later on as battery storage manufacturing siting in the U.S. gathered momentum in the wake of the incentives from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. This came earlier, however, and made the biggest splash. Click here to read more

2.      We have Fusion Ignition: Lawrence Livermore National Lab team achieves Net Energy Gain with Nuclear Fusion experiments

Talk about your game changers. Nuclear fusion has been the holy grail of energy researchers for years. Billions of dollars spent to shoot lasers at elemental plasma and see if you can create more energy than you use. The experiments failed for ages, but this year the team at Livermore achieved a net energy gain of more than one megajoule (used two MJs to make 3 MJs). Of course, that’s nothing to scale up a nuclear fusion power plant to solve our carbon-generated climate crisis, but it was definitely something to write home about. History was made and maybe a first step in a long road to emissions and radiation-free nuclear-powered electricity. Click here to read more  

3.      Hitachi and Penske: Electrified Fleet Future needs all Hands on Deck to make it happen  

This story in March revolved around a web update from both companies on the work they were doing together on predictive maintenance programs and future goals to electrify fleet transportation. Penske is a major mover here, literally and figuratively, with more than 300,000 medium and heavy trucks in the leasing world. Overall, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so fleet electrification advancements could pay huge dividends for the future. These titans of technology are working on it together. Click here to read more  

4.      ExxonMobil expanding world’s largest Carbon Capture facility in Wyoming

The oil giant signed up engineering firm Technip Energies and EPC contractor Saulsbury to expand the carbon capture and storage system at Labarge, Wyoming. Already touted as the world’s largest CCS site, ExxonMobil’s project reportedly captures six million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from oil and gas production operations. The expansion would add another million MT in capture and storage capacity of CO2. The reduction in greenhouse gas could play a huge role in making fossil fuels more environmentally feasible. Click here to read more  

5.      New LNG projects strengthen U.S. position as world’s largest exporter

Even as the flow of Russian gas into Europe decreased as a result of the war in Ukraine, U.S. liquefied natural gas production and shipping kept rising to the highest global levels. A new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that the coming additions of major LNG terminals along the Gulf Coast should lift total U.S. LNG capacity to nearly 17 billion cubic feet per day. Much of the product at these export facilities, which chill U.S. natural gas to liquify and make it stable for long-distance shipping, will go to markets in Europe, Asia and Africa. Click here to read more    

6.      Black & Veatch selected as EPC contractor for 220-MW Hydrogen production and storage hub in Utah

The massive Advanced Clean Energy Storage development in Delta, Utah is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power and Magnum. They chose Kansas City-based Black & Veatch to handle lead engineering and construction duties on the nearby Intermountain Power Project which will utilize natural gas-fired turbines to eventually incorporate growing percentages of H2 produced and stored nearby. The ACES project is seen as major leap forward for a carbon-free and yet energy-dense power generation portfolio. Hydrogen does not emit CO2 when combusted, but to be considered green H2 it must be produced by electrolyzers powered by clean energy resources such as wind, solar, hydro or nuclear. The ACES hydrogen hub will be designed to convert more than 220 MW of renewable energy capacity to create 100 metric tons of H2 daily. The hydrogen then would be stored in two sprawling salt caverns underneath the Utah landscape. Click here to read more  

7.      Inside Look: What you need to know about Battery Energy Storage Fire Protection

This contributed piece by Louise Dillon of Fireaway, Inc. focused on the growing deployment of mainly lithium-ion-based battery energy storage systems, and the risks therein. Li-ion Bess are more susceptible to thermal runaway and other fire dangers as the chemistry gets heated. Great energy generated in small spaces equals high-level risks. UL standards and other precautions help. Dillion lines out various options for utilities and developers considering or managing BESS projects. Click here to read more  

8.      Bimbo Bakeries installing GreenStruxure Microgrids for six California plants

I got hungry writing this one. Mexico-based parent company Grupo Bimbo is one of the biggest baked products companies worldwide, and its presence in the U.S. is huge. Think Nature’s Harvest, Sara Lee and Ball Park, among many others. The energy-as-a-service microgrids will feature solar power and battery storage at six manufacturing sites including Montebello, Placentia, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, South San Francisco and Sacramento. In December, EnergyTech hosted a webinar about the Bimbo Bakeries microgrids featuring experts from both Schneider Electric and GreenStruxure. Grupo Bimbo (pronounced “Beem-bo” owns and operates nearly 200 bakery plants worldwide and plans to add more microgrids down the road to provide backup grid resiliency. Click here to read more  

9.      200-MWh Battery Storage system to complement on-site CHP at future Texas Airport

This project is a ways from reality, but it connected with EnergyTech readers. Real estate development energy storage firm Available Power closed on the agreement to deliver a utility-scale battery system to provide resiliency at the new Greenport International Airport and Technology center project. The 100-MW/200-MWh BESS will support the privately run Greenport airport, which also going to generate much of its combined heat and power capacity via biomass. The net-zero emissions goals are elevated with this one. Click here to read more    

10.  BESS will enable Solar Microgrid to replace Diesel Gen-sets at Belize Resort

And we go from Big D to tiny B. The small, but popular tourist destination is intent on capturing that abundant sunshine to create carbon-free energy. In this case, On Energy is partnering with Solar Axiom to create a renewable microgrid which will backed up with battery energy capacity at the Turtle Island Beach Resort near San Pedro. This will enable Turtle Island resort operators to move away from the resilient but emissions-heavy diesel generators as backup. Click here to read more.