The world looks to be underway towards a dramatic energy transition, as it shifts towards more renewables and a sophisticated digitized grid. It is tempting to think of the battle as already decided: Renewable deployments – driven primarily by solar and wind energy – are growing rapidly, albeit from a small base; costs are falling; policy is directionally favorable. However, new research based on big data analysis indicates a worrying trend – innovation interest in renewables is declining, after peaking about four years ago, as shown in the figure below. Without continued innovation momentum, long-term success driven by further clean energy technology improvements is thrown into question.
In late 2015, intrepid emissions testing researchers sent shockwaves through the automotive world by catching Volkswagen in one of the biggest corporate scandals ever: Hidden software allowed its diesel engines to cheat on emissions testing. The repercussions are still being felt today, as more and more countries are turning against the technology. The common narrative is that this was a surprising, unforeseen event, and in many ways, it was. However, newly developed, specialized, big data analysis allows us to investigate diesel innovation – or rather, the lack of diesel innovation – and uncover some interesting trends. By applying our Lux Tech Signal software tool to the topic of diesel engines, we see a suspicious decline in interest in diesel innovation since 2010, as shown in the figure below:
Using our News Commentary feature (client registration required), Lux Research analysts have been tracking the energy storage space with unprecedented detail, covering more than 300 chosen individual developments during the past half year. These innovation-related events span from partnerships and investments to new research and new factories, and include information about the companies involved and our own takes on the developments. While this set of coverage is not meant to include every single development, it does capture much of what Lux analysts think is worth considering. The full dataset is available to Lux members to explore here, by clicking the News tab’s Energy Storage filter (client registration required), which includes interactive versions of the visualizations shown below. To help extract insights from this wealth of data, in this summary we analyze the trends that have emerged out of this in-depth coverage of how the energy storage landscape looks like in 2017 thus far, using the following heat map:
Consumer electronics like smartphones and laptops have traditionally driven the most demand for energy storage devices such as lithium-ion batteries, but clean energy advances mean that transportation and stationary applications will soon become the largest energy storage markets.
By 2025 the energy storage market will top $100 billion with applications in transportation alone reaching $69 billion. Transformations in the electricity grid mean that stationary storage has the highest growth rates and will reach $19 billion in 2025. This growth will have profound implications, ranging from how whole economies are powered to how populations and products move around.
President Trump’s energy agenda’s strongly positive rhetoric around boosting oil and gas production and revitalizing the coal industry will only go so far, as economics in both industries play a larger role. Despite Trump’s political agenda, his actual influence will have an overall moderate impact in the U.S. energy landscape.
In an examination of Trump’s America First Energy Plan, we determined how the Trump administration may impact domestic energy in five segments of the energy landscape – oil and gas, renewable fuels, coal, renewables and storage, and offshore wind.
Once touted as the cleaner alternative to gasoline due to lower CO2 emissions, the use of diesel as a transportation fuel is under intense scrutiny following Volkswagen’s scandal in 2015. Since then, academics and media outlets have publicized the adverse effects of NOx emissions on air quality and public health. In a somewhat knee-jerk reaction, many governments around the world called for an outright ban of diesel vehicles.
Lux Research compiled a non-exhaustive list of cities around the world that announced intentions to ban diesel vehicles. While some cities called for a blanket ban, others are introducing restrictions to limit the number of diesel vehicles, a step we believe will eventually move towards a ban.
In late 2016, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would soon be offering solar roofs for homes, and claimed further that the roofs would be less expensive than non-photovoltaic roofs, even without income from photovoltaic generation. The company has partnered with 3M, which produces a film for the tiles to hide the solar cells when viewing from shallow angles. Recently, the company released its estimates for price, as well as the assumptions it relied on in order to reach those figures. Continue reading
For a number of reports, Lux has relied on electricity grid mix forecasts and future plug-in adoption models. In this analysis, we further investigate these projections in the context of energy infrastructure capital expenditures and carbon emissions. The implications of how energy infrastructure is invested in over the next two decades are tremendous, ranging from flat capital expenditures with grim environmental consequences, to a growing investment market that achieves climate targets. We’ll investigate the conditions that lead to these divergent energy capital expenditure scenarios to understand the key drivers and implications. Continue reading
In March, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) saw a record 617,908 gallons of cellulosic ethanol registered for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). This is the highest number of RINs generated in a single month since the RFS was established. However, before we begin announcing the ramp-up of commercial cellulosic ethanol production, a comparison to historical production numbers shows that things are still (slowly) proceeding at a business-as-usual pace.
What They Said
Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) recently announced the country would start its second offshore production test this month to dissolve methane hydrates and extract natural gas in the offshore sea area along Atsumi Peninsula to Shima Peninsula. The tests will be carried out in two wells and will be performed over a five-week period. Japan has an estimated 40 trillion ft3 of methane hydrates with the country aiming to commercialize production from the deposits by 2025.