The Chemical Engineer:

HIGHVIEW Power, the designer and developer of the CRYOBattery, is to build what it claims will be Europe’s largest battery storage system, in the North of England. The project will also be the UK’s first commercial cryogenic energy storage facility at large scale.

The 50 MW/250 MWh clean energy storage facility could help the UK to achieve its goal of decarbonising industry, heat, power, and transport, as CRYOBattery emits zero emissions and could dramatically contribute to emissions savings compared to fossil fuel plants.

Previously known as liquid air energy storage, Highview’s technology employs liquid air as a storage medium. The system uses off-peak or excess energy to clean, compress, and cool air to -196°C, and the liquified air is then stored in insulated tanks at low pressure. When energy is needed the liquid air is drawn from the tanks and pumped to high pressure, reheated, and expanded – resulting in a high-pressure gas which is used to drive turbines to generate energy.

The process does not use combustion and does not produce any emissions. Additionally, waste cold and waste heat are captured for use, increasing efficiency.

The new facility will supply energy storage, and also provide services to the National Grid to help it to “integrate renewables, stabilise the electrical grid, and ensure future energy security”.

Highview is currently in talks with potential offtakers.

In addition to its first large-scale facility, Highview is developing a portfolio of UK projects and is in the process of securing sites to develop similar large-scale, CRYOBattery projects across Europe. The projects are expected to further the UK’s movement towards its clean energy goals and help it to meet expected demand for energy storage.

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Popular Mechanics:

The United Nations released an exceptionally bleak report today, which warns that, at the current pace of greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures will rise by as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (almost 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. 

The report, published by the United Nations’ Environment Programme, aims to compare current rates of greenhouse gas emissions to the chief goals set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement: limiting an increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). 

In order to hit our target by 2100, greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6 percent annually starting in 2020, according to the report. “Every year of delay beyond 2020 brings a need for faster cuts, which become increasingly expensive, unlikely and impractical,” the report’s authors state. “Delays will also quickly put the 1.5C goal out of reach.”

Inside Climate News:

To be on track for 2°C of warming, the report said, emissions in 2030 would need to be 25 percent lower than today.

To limit warming to 1.5°C, emissions would need to be slashed by 55 percent. Last year, global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.7 percent.

“Every year that action is delayed, emissions reductions need to be steeper,” said Joeri Rogelj, climate change lecturer at Imperial College London and an author of the report. This is the 10th year in a row that the UN has released an emissions gap report. “It is really the accumulation of bad news every year.”

Confirmation that rising emissions are putting existing global goals further out of reach came on the eve of the COP 25 climate summit that begins in Madrid on Monday.

The meeting will be the first big climate gathering since President Donald Trump began the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement. Brazil’s president has also questioned the deal’s relevance.

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Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:

This week Moody’s changed ExxonMobil’s Triple-A rating from stable to negative, raising the prospect of the oil company being downgraded in 2020.

Moody’s has red-flagged ExxonMobil’s rising capital expenditures and weak revenues. The oil giant is challenged by a low price environment ($60/barrel) and diminished refining and chemical earnings. The problems for ExxonMobil’s business model are fundamental — revenues have eroded and rebounding oil prices are proving inadequate to fund operating expenses, capital plans and investor dividends.

Moody’s negative outlook is based on its assessment of recent actions by the company in light of current market conditions:

Rising capital expenditures are not producing increased revenues. Moody’s identifies negative cash flow for the company in 2019 and expects the same in 2020 and 2021.

Despite recent increases in capital expenditures compared to recent quarters, the company is still spending less than it did earlier in the decade. ExxonMobil’s lower capital spending could not keep pace with the more dramatic and negative impact of lower-for-longer oil prices.

Rising dividend payments to investors masks the fact that ExxonMobil’s total shareholder distributions, dividends and share buybacks, have been substantially reduced. Earlier this decade, shareholders received annual payments of $40 billion in total distributions, while dividend payments now amount to $16 billion annually and there are no share repurchases. Capital expenditure discipline and reductions in total payments to shareholders are not enough to keep the company on a sustainable financial path.

ExxonMobil anticipates selling assets through 2021 that will generate $15 billion in revenue, if successful. Moody’s anticipates higher debt levels for the company, even if it successfully executes its asset sale program.

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Viral Burned Koala Dead

November 26, 2019

The Hill:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up an appeal involving a prominent climate scientist who sued an iconic conservative magazine and libertarian think tank for defamation.

In a closely watched request to the Supreme Court, the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute asked the justices to intervene in a suit brought against them by scientist Michael Mann. The case, which pits climate scientists against the free speech rights of global warming skeptics, drew interest from lawmakers, interest groups, academics and media.

The Supreme Court’s denial means at least four justices declined to take on the case, which is required to grant an appeal. Justice Samuel Alitodissented from the court’s decision to decline the case.

“The petition in this case presents questions that go to the very heart of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press: the protection afforded to journalists and others who use harsh language in criticizing opposing advocacy on one of the most important public issues of the day,” Alito wrote.

“If the Court is serious about protecting freedom of expression,” Alito added, “we should grant review.” 

Mann, the plaintiff, is best known among climate scientists for his “hockey stick” graph, which showed a sharp uptick in the earth’s temperatures over the 20th century as carbon emissions from human activity were on the rise.

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New York Times:

Climate change activists stormed the field at the Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday afternoon, disrupting the game at halftime in a protest to call attention to the universities to divest their investments in fossil fuels.

A group of about 70 protesters first took to the field just before 2 p.m. after the game’s halftime show. They were then joined by others from the stands. At its peak, the demonstration drew up to 500 people, packing about 45 yards of play between the large numbers that marked yardage.

Players from both schools warmed up as police and security officers surrounded the demonstrators, and announcements were made on the public address system imploring protesters to clear the field “as a courtesy to players.” 

The game, which was being aired live on cable television, was halted for about an hour, with ESPNU switching to another game during the delay while periodically checking in on the efforts of the police to clear the field.

Climate deniers cheering, I’m sure.

If you wondered about what happened to the burned Koala I posted on a few days ago, there’s a follow up above.


As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them “functionally extinct.”

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation has led to koalas becoming “functionally extinct” according to experts.

Functional extinction is when a population becomes so limited that they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem and the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals could produce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely and highly 


Animal campaigners say that koala numbers have fallen so low that the animal is “functionally extinct”. 

The Australian Koala Foundation says there are fewer than 80,000 koalas left in the wild. 

Although 80,000 sounds like a lot, the foundation says these koalas are unlikely to produce a new generation. 

‘Functionally extinct’ describes an animal population which has so few pairs that they are unlikely to produce a new generation.

It can also describe an animal which is breeding in such few numbers that they are more likely to become ill from disease.

The koala is a popular symbol of Australia and was even a mascot for the Commonwealth Games last year in Queensland Australia.

Although they are sometimes referred to as called koala bears, the koala is actually a marsupial. 

Koalas are dying out because many of the forests where they live are being destroyed. Heatwaves caused by climate change are also a major factor. 

Recent studies said thousands of koalas died from dehydration in an intense heatwave in Australia. 

UPDATE: New Scientist:

Who has said koalas are “functionally extinct”?
The Australian Koala Foundation, which lobbies for the animals’ protection, has put out a press release stating that it “believes koalas may be functionally extinct in the entire landscape of Australia”. The release triggered a flurry of worried headlines.

So are they?
No, although many populations of koalas are falling sharply due to habitat loss and global warming.

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Market Disses Tesla Truck

November 23, 2019


South Asia’s Toxic Air

November 23, 2019

Good, brief explainer of the dynamics behind Asia’s poison air crisis.