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Saudi Arabia’s entrance into the hydrogen market makes perfect sense

People are surprised and uncertain about Saudi Arabia’s plan to enter into a potential $700B global hydrogen market. A country with underutilized (way underutilized) renewable resources is suddenly building a $5B plant powered entirely by sun and wind that will be among the world’s biggest green hydrogen makers.

Why the sudden pivot to hydrogen? Maybe they are going environment friendly?

Of Course Not!

ACWA Power secures $114M to fund 200-MW Egyptian solar project

Saudi Arabia-based energy company ACWA Power has signed a deal with multiple international investors for the provision of funds to implement what is claimed to be the largest private-sector solar energy project in Egypt.

As a result of the signed financing package, ACWA Power will receive $114 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Arab Bank.

The EBRD will provide ACWA Power with a $36 million loan whilst OPEC will provide $18 million, the AfDB $18.8 million, the GCF $23.8 million and the Arab Bank $18 million. This is in addition to equity bridge loans of up to $14 million from EBRD and $33.5 million from Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation.

The project will add 200 MW of renewables capacity to the Egyptian grid. The financing deal highlights the importance of the private sector in accelerating Egypt’s energy transition.

Emissions Data Now Available Online for the Waste-to-Energy Facility in Chester, PA

CHESTER, Pa., April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Covanta is pleased to announce that continuous emissions monitoring data for the Delaware Valley Waste-to-Energy facility is now available to the public on the company’s website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This data is the same information monitored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and required by the facility’s air permit to ensure its adherence to the Commonwealth’s stringent environmental regulations.  It is also used by operators onsite at the facility to track emissions, anticipate potential issues and resolve them to ensure compliance.

“We care deeply about the Chester community and understand some residents have raised concerns about the facility,” said Derek Veenhof, Covanta’s chief operating officer. “We want residents to know we’ve heard them and in taking this step, we are demonstrating our commitment to changing the status quo. Chester is an environmental justice community and as an industrial operator in the community, we take our responsibility for minimizing the impacts of our operation seriously. Our work to reduce emissions and overall environmental impacts is never-ending.”

JetBlue invests in Universal Hydrogen to help advance carbon-free flight

JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways announced that it is one of the investors in Series A funding for Universal Hydrogen through which the company raised $20.5 million.

Universal Hydrogen says it is fueling carbon-free flight and that the money will allow it to accelerate the development of its hydrogen logistics network and regional aircraft conversion kits, and also boost its burgeoning commercial activities.

Universal Hydrogen is building a fuel distribution network that connects hydrogen production directly to the airplane using modular capsules that are transported using the existing freight network, avoiding the need for new pipelines, storage facilities, and fuel trucks, it says. The company is also developing conversion kits to retrofit existing 40-60 passenger regional airplanes with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

JTV invests in technology focusing on advanced methods of measuring and reducing emissions, improved environmental protections, and game-changing transportation. In 2020 JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to achieve carbon neutrality for all domestic flying, primarily through carbon offsets, it said.

“Our investment in Universal Hydrogen is highly aligned with JetBlue’s environmental objectives, and this partnership allows the airline a seat at the table in the fast-developing hydrogen for aviation sector and provides valuable insight into the options, progress, and viability of hydrogen to help decarbonize aircraft operations,” said Jim Lockheed, Investment Principal at JTV.

New process breaks down biodegradable plastics faster

With Army funding, scientists invented a way to make compostable plastics break down within a few weeks with just heat and water. This advance will potentially solve waste management challenges at forward operating bases and offer additional technological advances for American Soldiers.

The new process, developed by researchers at University of California, Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, involves embedding polyester-eating enzymes in the plastic as it’s made.

When exposed to heat and water, an enzyme shrugs off its polymer shroud and starts chomping the plastic polymer into its building blocks — in the case of biodegradable plastics, which are made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, it reduces it to lactic acid that can feed the soil microbes in compost. The polymer wrapping also degrades.