Electric motors: variable star?

Variable frequency drives precisely control motors. Amazingly they could reduce global electricity demand by c10%. We expect a sharp acceleration due to sustained energy shortages, increasingly renewable-heavy grids and excellent 20-50% IRRs. Hence this 14-page note reviews the opportunity and who benefits.

Power electronics: problems and solutions?

The purpose of this data-file is to summarize the main problems and solutions in power-electronics, and how they will evolve amidst the ramp-up of renewables and electrification.

We describe c15 problems that are incurred by power consumers, all of which will be amplified amidst the build-out of renewables, some more than others.

In turn, this means we expect c$100bn pa growth in the market for compensatory power-electronics solutions by 2030 (this number excludes grid-scale batteries). Different devices, examples, market sizes and costs are summarized in the equipment tab.

Back-up data follows from technical papers in the final tab.

Carbon capture: how big is the opportunity?

This 13-page note aims to quantify the upside case for CCS in the United States, using economics, top-down and bottom-up calculations. Our conclusion is that a clear, $100/ton incentive could help CCS scale by c25x, accelerating over 500MTpa of projects in the next decade, which could prevent almost 10% of the US’s current CO2 emissions. Our numbers include blue hydrogen and next-gen CCS.

Insulation: deliver us from gas shortages?

Insulating materials slow the flow of heat from a warm house to the outside environment by a factor of 30-100x. This matters as 60-90% of today’s global housing stock is 30-70% under-insulated. And the world is now grappling with devastating gas shortages, which may encourage policymakers to re-prioritize nearer-term energy savings. We think renovation rates could treble. This 12-page note screens who might benefit.

Carbon capture on ships: raising a sail?

CCS is adapting to ‘go to sea’. 80% of some ships’ CO2 emissions could be captured for a cost of c$100/ton and an energy penalty of just 5%, albeit this is the best case within a broad range. This 15-page note explores the opportunity, challenges, progress and who might benefit.

Carbon neutral investing: hedge funds, forest funds?

This 11-page note considers a new model of ‘carbon neutral’ investing. Look-through emissions of a portfolio are quantified (Scope 1 & 2 basis). Then accordingly, an allocation is made to high-quality, nature-based CO2 removals. This allows portfolio managers to maximize returns, investing across any sector, while also neutralizing the environmental impacts.

Grid volatility: are batteries finally in the money?

UK power price volatility has exploded in 2021. The average daily range has risen 4x from 2019-20, to 35c/kWh in 3Q21. At this level, grid-scale batteries are strongly ‘in the money’. So will the high volatility persist? This is the question in today’s 6-page note. We attribute two-thirds of the volatility gains to gas shortages and high absolute power prices. However, wind generation is at three-year lows.

End game: options to cure energy shortages?

This 13-page note considers five options to cure emerging energy shortages in the gas and power sectors of countries working hard to decarbonize. Unfortunately, the options are mostly absurd. They point to inflation, industrial leakage and slipping global climate goals. But there may be a few glimmers of opportunity in LNG, nuclear and efficiency technologies.

Power grids: tenet?

How do power grids work? How will they be re-shaped by renewables? This 20-page note outlines the underpinnings of electricity markets, from theoretical physics through to looming shortages of ‘inertia’ and ‘reactive power’. Some commentators may not have fully grasped the challenges of back-stopping renewables and opportunities thus created.

Nature based CO2 removals: theory of evolution?

Learning curves and cost deflation are widely assumed in new energies but overlooked for nature-based CO2 removals. This 15-page note finds the CO2 uptake of well-run reforestation projects could double again from here. Support for NBS has already stepped up sharply in 2021. Beneficiaries include the supply chain, leading projects and some energy companies.