DiscoverCatalyst with Shayle Kann
Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Author: Latitude Media

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Investor Shayle Kann is asking big questions about how to decarbonize the planet: How cheap can clean energy get? Will artificial intelligence speed up climate solutions? Where is the smart money going into climate technologies? Every week on Catalyst, Shayle explains the world of climate tech with prominent experts, investors, researchers, and executives. Produced by Latitude Media.

140 Episodes
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In March, Nvidia announced a new microchip designed for AI that is 25 times more energy efficient than its predecessor. Two months later, Google announced one with a 67% efficiency improvement. Today, the rest of the semiconductor industry is hyper focused on efficiency gains. Will they save us from ballooning data center energy demands? In this episode, Shayle talks to Christian Belady, former Microsoft vice president now focusing on data center advanced development. They unpack concerns about this new surge of demand and whether it’s different from the energy scare two decades ago. Back in 1999, researchers predicted that data centers could end up consuming half of U.S. electricity. But instead, demand remained largely flat at about 4% as cutting-edge hyperscale cloud computing displaced inefficient, on-premises servers. And yet, driven by the AI boom, energy concerns are back. The Electric Power Research Institute predicts that data center loads could consume 9% of U.S. power generation by 2030. Demand is already rising fast, with emissions at both Google and Microsoft up significantly.  Shayle and Christian examine the factors driving those trends and what we can do about it, covering topics like: Whether chip efficiency improvements will lead to energy savings or just more powerful computing The upper limits of Moore’s Law Energy, labor, and other big constraints on AI growth Changing computing architecture to find energy savings Enlisting data centers in integrated, or compulsory, demand response Using AI to improve chip design  Recommended resources Fierce Electronics: Power-hungry AI chips face a reckoning, as chipmakers promise ‘efficiency’ Latitude Media: The data center of the future looks like a massive virtual power plant Latitude Media: Enchanted Rock is selling utilities on flexible data center connection Latitude Media: Energy is now the ‘primary bottleneck’ for AI Catalyst: Under the hood of data center power demand Catalyst is brought to you by Kraken, the advanced operating system for energy. Kraken is helping utilities offer excellent customer service and develop innovative products and tariffs through the connection and optimization of smart home energy assets. Already licensed by major players across the globe, including Origin Energy, E.ON, and EDF, Kraken can help you create a smarter, greener grid. Visit kraken.tech. Catalyst is brought to you by Anza Renewables, a data, technology, and services platform for solar and storage buyers. Anza’s real-time market intel equips buyers with the essential data they need to get the best deals. Download Anza’s free Q2 Module Pricing Insights Report at go.anzarenewables.com/latitude. Catalyst is brought to you by Antenna Group, the global leader in integrated marketing, public relations, creative, and public affairs for energy and climate brands. If you're a startup, investor, or enterprise that's trying to make a name for yourself, Antenna Group's team of industry insiders is ready to help tell your story and accelerate your growth engine. Learn more at antennagroup.com.
While we were all at home during Covid desperately trying to get our hands on toilet paper, exercise equipment, and home furnishings, solar executives like Dan Sugar were trying to get steel and power electronics to massive PV farms under development. As equipment and workforce disruptions spiraled due to lockdowns, the cost of installed solar started going up for the first time in nearly a decade. “Costs just skyrocketed. And so at this point in my career. I wasn't going to proceed like that,” explained Shugar, the CEO of Nextracker, the world’s top solar tracking company. It became very obvious that Nextracker had to build more US manufacturing to serve local markets, where utility-scale PV was still booming. And within a couple years, they built a large network of factories. “We've catalyzed over 20 factories across the United States with over 30 gigawatts of major components being manufactured here and shipping finished goods today. That's just a huge retooling of the supply chain,” explained Shugar. To date, Nextracker has shipped 100 gigawatts of trackers. More and more of them are being produced in key locations around the US. In this episode, produced in collaboration with Nextracker, Stephen Lacey speaks with Dan Sugar about progress in onshoring, innovations in tracker technology, and where the solar industry is headed next. Learn more about Nextracker’s efforts to bolster domestic content for solar power generation in the US.
While aviation may be converging on one main pathway to decarbonization — sustainable aviation fuel — maritime shipping may require a more diverse set of solutions: a portfolio of fuels, energy efficiency, and on-board carbon capture and storage. But each technology has operational and capital challenges. So what will it take to scale them up? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Lynn Loo, CEO of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation. Ocean-going shipping consumes about 300 million tons of fuel per year, accounting for 3% of global emissions. But with significant regulatory pressure from bodies like the International Maritime Organization, shipping companies are exploring a range of options. Shayle and Lynn cover topics like: Conventional fuels, like heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil The inadvertent climate impact of cutting sulfur emissions The pros and cons of lower-carbon fuels, like LNG, biofuels, methanol, and ammonia The challenges for infrastructure and operations, especially involving the low volumetric energy density of new fuels  On-board carbon capture and storage How energy efficiency reduces the impact of low volumetric energy density Recommended resources International Maritime Organization: Fourth Greenhouse Gas Study 2020 Catalyst: Heavy duty decarbonization Catalyst: Putting a halt to geoengineering — by accident Catalyst is brought to you by Anza Renewables, a data, technology, and services platform for solar and storage buyers. Anza’s real-time market intel equips buyers with the essential data they need to get the best deals. Download Anza’s free Q2 Module Pricing Insights Report at go.anzarenewables.com/latitude. Catalyst is brought to you by Kraken, the advanced operating system for energy. Kraken is helping utilities offer excellent customer service and develop innovative products and tariffs through the connection and optimization of smart home energy assets. Already licensed by major players across the globe, including Origin Energy, E.ON, and EDF, learn how Kraken can help you create a smarter, greener grid at kraken.tech. Catalyst is brought to you by Antenna Group, the global leader in integrated marketing, public relations, creative, and public affairs for energy and climate brands. If you're a startup, investor, or enterprise that's trying to make a name for yourself, Antenna Group's team of industry insiders is ready to help tell your story and accelerate your growth engine. Learn more at antennagroup.com.
Investment is on the rise in geothermal, where advances in drilling techniques are driving down the cost of generation right as the grid needs more clean, firm, dispatchable power to meet rising load growth. And enhanced-geothermal startup Fervo is leading the pack of entrants, signing agreements to provide power to Southern California Edison and Google.  So how ready are these next-generation geothermal technologies to scale? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Roland Horne, professor of earth sciences at Stanford, where he leads the university’s geothermal program. Shayle and Roland cover topics like: Geothermal’s historical challenges of limited geography and high up-front costs Three pathways of next-generation geothermal: enhanced, closed-loop, and super-deep (also known as super-critical) Knowledge transfer from the oil and gas industry Advances in drilling technology that cut across multiple pathways  Recommended resources U.S. Department of Energy: Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Next-Generation Geothermal Power Latitude Media: Fervo eyes project-level finance as it plans for geothermal at scale Make sure to listen to our new podcast, Political Climate – an insider’s view on the most pressing policy questions in energy and climate. Tune in every other Friday for the latest takes from hosts Julia Pyper, Emily Domenech, and Brandon Hurlbut. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to also check out Living Planet, a weekly show from Deutsche Welle that brings you the stories, facts, and debates on the key environmental issues affecting our planet. Tune in to Living Planet every Friday on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to win Catalyst merch? Tell your friends about the show. We’ll give you a unique link that you can share. For every friend who signs up with your link, you’ll get a chance to win. Sign up here.
New electric vehicles — including both battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles — make up nearly half of new car sales in China. Compared to slowing EV sales in Europe and the U.S. the Chinese market is booming.  So what’s going on? In this episode, Shayle talks to TP Huang, who writes a Substack about EVs, clean energy, and other tech focused on China. (Editor's note: TP Huang is a pseudonym, used for family reasons.) Shayle and TP cover topics like: How EVs became extremely cost competitive with internal combustion engines in China where EV prices dip as low as $10,000 USD Chinese consumer preferences for vehicles packed with features ranging from voice commands to fridges The ubiquity and interoperability of fast charging, plus battery swapping The rapid pace of electrification in heavy-duty trucking  Chinese exports to Europe, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere (although not the U.S.) Recommended Resources: TP Huang: What's going in the Chinese automotive market CNN: A brutal elimination round is reshaping the world’s biggest market for electric cars Bloomberg: Why Europe Is Raising Tariffs on China’s Cheap EVs Make sure to listen to our new podcast, Political Climate – an insider’s view on the most pressing policy questions in energy and climate. Tune in every other Friday for the latest takes from hosts Julia Pyper, Emily Domenech, and Brandon Hurlbut. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to also check out Living Planet, a weekly show from Deutsche Welle that brings you the stories, facts, and debates on the key environmental issues affecting our planet. Tune in to Living Planet every Friday on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Driven by the AI boom, data centers’ energy demand could account for 9% of U.S. power generation by 2030, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. That's more than double current usage. So how do we meet that demand? And what impacts will it have on the grid and decarbonization? In this episode, Shayle talks to Brian Janous, former vice president of energy at Microsoft and current co-founder of Cloverleaf Infrastructure. Brian talks through the options for meeting data center demand, including shaping computational loads to avoid system peaks and deploying grid-enhancing technologies. He and Shayle also cover topics like: Why AI-driven demand will be big, even with “zombie requests” in the interconnection queue How hyperscalers are “coming to grips” with the reality that they may not hit decarbonization targets as quickly as planned Why Brian thinks efficiency improvement alone “isn’t going to save us” from rising load growth Why Brian argues that taking data centers off-grid is not a solution  Options for shaping data center load, such as load shifting, microgrids, and behind-the-meter generation How hyperscalers could speed up interconnection by shaping computational loads Recommended Resources: Electric Power Research Institute: Powering Intelligence: Analyzing Artificial Intelligence and Data Center Energy Consumption The Carbon Copy: New demand is straining the grid. Here’s how to tackle it. Federal Regulatory Energy Commission: Report | 2024 Summer Energy Market and Electric Reliability Assessment Make sure to listen to our new podcast, Political Climate – an insider’s view on the most pressing policy questions in energy and climate. Tune in every other Friday for the latest takes from hosts Julia Pyper, Emily Domenech, and Brandon Hurlbut. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to also check out Living Planet, a weekly show from Deutsche Welle that brings you the stories, facts, and debates on the key environmental issues affecting our planet. Tune in to Living Planet every Friday on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Tesla’s Master Plan Part 3 lays out the company’s model for a decarbonized economy — and makes the case for why it's economically viable. It outlines a vision for extensive electrification and a reliance on wind and solar power.  In this episode, Shayle talks to one of the executives behind the plan, Drew Baglino, who was senior vice president for powertrain and energy at Tesla until April when he resigned. In his 18 years at Tesla he worked on batteries, cars, and even Tesla’s lithium refinery. Shayle and Drew cover topics like: Why Drew isn't sure that AI-driven load growth “is going to be as dramatic as people think” Drew’s optimism about the U.S.’ ability to build out enough transmission for decarbonization How to deal with the high rates of curtailment and what to do with that excess power Meeting the material requirements of decarbonization and Drew’s experience with permitting Tesla facilities  Recommended Resources: Tesla: Master Plan Part 3 CNBC: Tesla execs Drew Baglino and Rohan Patel depart as company announces steep layoffs The Carbon Copy: AI's main constraint: Energy, not chips Catalyst: Understanding the transmission bottleneck Utility rates could make or break the energy transition – so how do we do it right? On June 13, Latitude Media and GridX are hosting a Frontier Forum to examine the importance of good rate design and the consequences of getting it wrong. Register here. And make sure to listen to our new podcast, Political Climate – an insider’s view on the most pressing policy questions in energy and climate. Tune in every other Friday for the latest takes from hosts Julia Pyper, Emily Domenech, and Brandon Hurlbut. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Batteries are making their way into more passenger cars and commercial vehicles than ever before, but the limits of electrification mean that we’ll likely need alternative fuels to decarbonize heavy transport like ships, planes, and trucks.  So what are those fuels and what modes of transport do they suit best? In this episode, Shayle talks to his colleague Andy Lubershane, partner and head of research at Energy Impact Partners. They talk through the limits of electrification and the alternatives for decarbonizing trucks, ships, and planes, drawing on Andy’s recent blog post, “How will we move the big, heavy things?”. They cover topics like: The main limitations of batteries: density and infrastructure Volumetric and gravimetric density, and why they matter for different types of vehicles How fossil fuels would beat out even a theoretical “uber-battery” multiple times denser than current batteries Why upgrading “always-on” grid infrastructure can be lengthy, expensive, and disruptive  The alternatives to electrification: biofuels, hydrogen, and e-fuels The advantages and limitations of each for different modes of transport Recommended Resources: Port of Long Beach: Our Zero Emissions Future Enterprise Mobility: Electrifying Airport Ecosystems by 2050 Could Require Nearly Five Times the Electric Power Currently Used Catalyst: Understanding SAF buyers Utility rates could make or break the energy transition – so how do we do it right? On June 13th, Latitude Media and GridX are hosting a Frontier Forum to examine the imperative of good rate design, and the consequences of getting it wrong. Register here. And make sure to listen to our new podcast, Political Climate – an insider’s view on the most pressing policy questions in energy and climate. Tune in every other Friday for the latest takes from hosts Julia Pyper, Emily Domenech, and Brandon Hurlbut. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
This week, we’re featuring a crossover episode of With Great Power, a show produced by Latitude Studios in partnership with GridX. Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts. Ahmad Faruqui has been researching electricity pricing since the mid 1970’s, when the cost of a kilowatt-hour was flat. But in the 80’s and 90’s, he started working on dynamic pricing – pioneering the concept of time-of-use rates. The big breakthrough for time-of-use rates came during the fallout from the California energy crisis. Later, thanks to the rollout of smart meters, more power providers started experimenting with dynamic rates. Now, new technology is making time-of-use rate design more transparent. This week, Ahmad talks with Brad about why dynamic pricing is gaining momentum among electric utilities – and what makes for good rate design.  On June 13th, Latitude Media and GridX will host a Frontier Forum to examine the imperative of good rate design – and the consequences of getting it wrong. Register at the link in the show notes, or go to latitudemdia.com/events. See you there!
The U.S. rooftop solar market has tanked. Residential applications in California, the largest market in the country, plunged 82% from May through November 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Contractors are going bankrupt. The big culprits are high interest rates and California’s subsidy cuts. But there are some bright spots. Battery attachment rates in California have surged. So what will it take to revive the U.S. rooftop solar market? In this episode, Shayle talks to Jigar Shah, director of the Loans Programs Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. Jigar argues that the rooftop solar industry should reinvent itself, relying on batteries and virtual power plants (VPPs). He also argues that regulations should focus on system-level dispatchability.  Shayle and Jigar cover topics like: The pros and cons of California’s latest regulations, new energy metering or NEM 3.0 Learning from the mistakes of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (S-GIP) The role of VPPs and rooftop solar in meeting accelerating load growth Incentivizing system-level dispatchability  How VPPs complicate the sales pitch for rooftop solar How VPPs could help utilities increase the utilization of infrastructure How to make VPPs more reliable Recommended Resources: U.S. Department of Energy: Virtual Power Plants Commercial Liftoff Latitude Media: Defining the rules of DER aggregation Latitude Media: Unpacking the software layer of VPP deployment CalMatters: What’s happened since California cut home solar payments? Demand has plunged 80%  The Wall Street Journal: The Home-Solar Boom Gets a ‘Gut Punch’ Catalyst is supported by Origami Solar. Join Latitude Media’s Stephen Lacey and Origami’s CEO Gregg Patterson for a live Frontier Forum on May 30th at 1 pm Eastern to discuss Origami’s new research on how recycled steel can help reinvigorate the U.S. solar industry. Register for free on Latitude’s events page.
Understanding SAF buyers

Understanding SAF buyers

2024-05-1628:411

Airlines are lining up to buy as much sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as they can, despite it costing two to three times more than conventional jet fuel, according to BloombergNEF. United Airlines has secured 2.9 billion gallons of SAF over, and others like Delta, Air France-KLM, and Southwest have secured around 1 billion gallons each. And yet to meaningfully decarbonize aviation, the SAF market needs to grow thousands of times larger than it is today. BloombergNEF estimates that global production capacity will grow 10-fold by 2030, but by then supply will still only meet 5% of jet fuel demand. So how are airlines thinking about scaling up their procurement of SAF? In this episode, Shayle talks to Amelia DeLuca, chief sustainability officer at Delta. They cover topics like: Who pays the green premium Infrastructure considerations, like SAF hubs and blending Technical pathways, like hydroprocessing, alcohol-to-jet, and power-to-liquids The role of incentives and regulation, like ReFuelEU Why airlines should procure SAF instead of buying carbon removal Recommended Resources: BloombergNEF: United Airlines Is Betting Big on a Pricey Green Aviation Fuel The Verge: Delta Air Lines lays out its plan to leave fossil fuels behind  Canary Media: Can corn ethanol really help decarbonize US air travel? Canary Media: How hydrogen ​‘e-fuels’ can power big ships and planes Catalyst: CO2 utilization Catalyst is supported by Origami Solar. Join Latitude Media’s Stephen Lacey and Origami’s CEO Gregg Patterson for a live Frontier Forum on May 30th at 1 pm Eastern to discuss Origami’s new research on how recycled steel can help reinvigorate the U.S. solar industry. Register for free on Latitude’s events page.
The news quiz episode!

The news quiz episode!

2024-05-0845:33

This week, we have something a little different: a news quiz.  We recently took the stage with four investors at the Prelude Climate Summit — armed with a bell, a buzzer, and four different categories of questions. We tested two teams of venture investors on their knowledge of the most recent industry news. Shayle Kann and Cassie Bowe, partners at venture firm Energy Impact Partners, are team High Voltage.  Dr. Carley Anderson, principal at venture firm Prelude Ventures, and Matt Eggers, Prelude’s manager director, are team Shayle Gassed. (Prelude led fundraising for Latitude Media.) Stephen Lacey, executive editor of this show and host of The Carbon Copy, quizzes the teams on the latest in climate tech news. Which team will come out on top? Catalyst is supported by Origami Solar. Join Latitude Media’s Stephen Lacey and Origami’s CEO Gregg Patterson for a live Frontier Forum on May 30th at 1 pm Eastern to discuss Origami’s new research on how recycled steel can help reinvigorate the U.S. solar industry. Register for free on Latitude’s events page.
CO2 utilization

CO2 utilization

2024-05-0248:07

The IPCC says that we likely need to capture hundreds of gigatons of CO2 if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. So what are we going to do with all that carbon? In this episode, Shayle talks to Julio Friedmann, chief scientist at Carbon Direct. Julio says we will store the vast majority of that CO2. But the markets for using CO2 in things like concrete, fizzy water, and chemicals will play an important role in developing the carbon management economy. Shayle and Julio cover topics like: The roughly 50 carbon capture facilities operating today and how much carbon they capture Why we should recycle carbon at all when we could just store it  Current uses for CO2, like fizzy water, enhanced oil recovery, and concrete Emerging chemical uses, like jet fuel, ethanol, urea, and methanol Substituting glass and metal with products that use recycled carbon, like polycarbonate and carbon fiber The “over the horizon” stuff, like making space elevators from graphene Solving the challenge of local opposition to carbon infrastructure Who will pay the green premium for products made with recycled carbon   Recommended Resources: Center on Global Energy Policy: Opportunities and Limits of CO2 Recycling in a Circular Carbon Economy: Techno-economics, Critical Infrastructure Needs, and Policy Priorities Canary Media: US Steel plant in Indiana to host a $150M carbon capture experiment NBC: Biden admin seeks to jumpstart carbon recycling with $100 million in grants Are growing concerns over AI’s power demand justified? Join us for our upcoming Transition-AI event featuring three experts with a range of views on how to address the energy needs of hyperscale computing, driven by artificial intelligence. Don’t miss this live, virtual event on May 8. Catalyst is supported by Origami Solar. Join Latitude Media’s Stephen Lacey and Origami’s CEO Gregg Patterson for a live Frontier Forum on May 30th at 1 pm Eastern to discuss Origami’s new research on how recycled steel can help reinvigorate the U.S. solar industry. Register for free on Latitude’s events page.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential ingredients in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and many electronics. As with most critical minerals, China controls the vast majority of the REE supply chain. And so when it banned the export of REE processing technology last December, it raised concerns about supply. So what will it take to secure the supply of REEs?  In this episode, Shayle talks to Ahmad Ghahreman, CEO and cofounder of Cyclic Materials, a rare earth elements recycling company. (Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner, invests in Cyclic.) They cover topics like: The five high-value REEs used in the permanent magnets inside EVs, wind turbines, and other electronics The many steps in the supply chain, from extraction to end-of-life Building magnets without REEs Increasing production outside of China The role of recycling Why Ahmad is optimistic about developing a supply chain in North America Recommended Resources: MIT Technology Review: The race to produce rare earth elements IEEE Spectrum: Who Will Free EV Motors from the Rare Earth Monopoly? Are growing concerns over AI’s power demand justified? Join us for our upcoming Transition-AI event featuring three experts with a range of views on how to address the energy needs of hyperscale computing, driven by artificial intelligence. Don’t miss this live, virtual event on May 8.
A little-known U.S. law called the Jones Act shapes climate tech in weird ways — like hindering offshore wind deployment and pushing up energy prices. The law, part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires all cargo shipped between U.S. ports to be carried by ships that meet strict standards. Those ships must be built in American shipyards, owned by an American company, registered in the U.S., and crewed by a majority American crew. As a result, building cargo ships in the U.S., and operating them between U.S. ports, is way more expensive than building and operating ships in other countries — and relatively few U.S. ships get built. So what are the impacts on climate tech? In this episode, Shayle talks to Colin Grabow, research fellow at the Cato Institute's Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. They cover topics like: How the Jones Act increases the money and time required to deploy offshore wind turbines Why it costs less to ship U.S. oil and gas abroad than to domestic markets How it pushes domestic shipping to rely on trucks and trains instead of ships The history of the act and potential ways it could change Recommended Resources: WIRED: The US Has Big Plans for Wind Energy—but an Obscure 1920s Law Is Getting in the Way Cato Institute: Jones Act Leaves New England Vulnerable to Wintertime Calamity Cato Institute: Environmental Costs of the Jones Act Are growing concerns over AI’s power demand justified? Join us for our upcoming Transition-AI event featuring three experts with a range of views on how to address the energy needs of hyperscale computing, driven by artificial intelligence. Don’t miss this live, virtual event on May 8.
This week we’re bringing you a deep dive into battery supply chains — the season premier of The Big Switch, a show that Latitude Media makes in partnership with Columbia University’s SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy. Across this five-episode documentary series, hosted by the acclaimed energy scholar Dr. Melissa Lott, we examine every step of the sprawling global supply chains behind lithium-ion batteries. In this first episode, we break apart one of the battery cells that was in the original Tesla Roadster. Then we explore how critical minerals, like copper, lithium, and nickel, are becoming a major force in global geopolitics, especially involving China, which dominates battery supply chains. The supply chain behind all those batteries could be worth nearly half a trillion dollars by 2030. Whoever controls that supply chain has enormous power — figuratively and literally.  In this episode, we explore the stakes of the battery-based transition and ask whether critical minerals will look anything like oil. To listen to the full five-part series, including episodes on mining, manufacturing and more, subscribe to The Big Switch on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
The lithium-ion battery business is taking off, and the battery recycling business is close behind. Financiers are pouring over a billion dollars into recycling companies like Redwood Materials, Ascend Elements, and Li-Cycle. But success depends on a steady supply of used batteries, and with batteries lasting longer than expected — and the battery market still in its infancy — there just aren’t enough dying batteries to go around.  As a result, a significant portion of recyclers’ feedstock is coming from manufacturer scrap, i.e. the waste that companies like SK On and Panasonic don’t turn into cells at the factory. But these battery makers are incentivized to minimize waste, which raises big questions about whether recyclers will be able to get enough used batteries to sustainably feed their operations. So which technologies and business models will succeed in this chapter of the battery industry? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dan Steingart, chair of the earth and environmental engineering department at Columbia University. (Steingart’s lab gets funding from battery manufacturer Northvolt.) Shayle and Dan cover topics like: The steps in nickel-manganese-cobalt battery recycling and what Dan calls “zombie lithium” The differences between pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy Dan’s bet on solvent extraction as an under-appreciated technology Redwood Materials’ focus on winning the feedstock battle Ascend Elements’ hydro-to-cathode technology Li-Cycle’s focus on making inputs for cathode manufacturers How these recyclers want to compete downstream by producing cathode precursor and cathode material  Why Dan is surprisingly bearish on direct recycling for lithium-iron-phosphate Recommended Resources: Nature Sustainability: Examining different recycling processes for lithium-ion batteries Latitude Media: What’s so hard about building a circular battery economy? Are growing concerns over AI’s power demand justified? Join us for our upcoming Transition-AI event featuring three experts with a range of views on how to address the energy needs of hyperscale computing, driven by artificial intelligence. Don’t miss this live, virtual event on May 8.
The electricity gauntlet we covered last year has been having a moment in the national spotlight, with coverage of rising load growth in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.  On one side of the gauntlet, demand for electricity is rising, driven by new loads like EVs, data centers, and electrification. On the other side, electricity supply is slow to grow, bogged down by years-long interconnection queues, the immense challenges of building transmission, and other bottlenecks. And utilities are stuck in the middle, struggling to deliver enough power to meet that rising demand. These challenges have been brewing for years, but the AI race is supercharging demand as big tech companies seek out power for their growing data center fleet.  So what does all this mean for emissions and prices? And what tools do we have to make it through this electricity gauntlet? In this episode, Shayle talks to his colleague Andy Lubershane, partner and head of research at Energy Impact Partners. Shayle and Andy cover topics like: Why utilities are building new natural gas plants and keeping coal plants open to meet load growth How technologies like nuclear, grid-enhancing technologies, geothermal, and multi-day storage could meet load growth with fewer emissions What utilities can do to prepare new gas plants for carbon-capture and storage What the gauntlet might do to electricity prices and which customers might be willing to pay higher premiums (data centers, cough cough) Whether the hype around rising power demand is overblown Plus, what medieval Swedish spearmen have to do with electricity  Recommended Resources: Andy Lubershane: The electricity gauntlet S&P Global: NERC raises North American power system reliability flags as demand could outstrip supply Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like solar and electrification. Join in under 2 minutes at joinatmos.com/catalyst.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved new rules this month on what information companies must disclose about their greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, but notably dropped more stringent requirements that the commission initially proposed.  Despite being halted by lawsuits, the rules are a significant win for climate transparency. But they’re not as strong as existing climate disclosure regulations in California and the European Union, where many multinational corporations do business anyway. So how big of a deal are the new SEC rules? In this episode, Shayle talks to Mallory Thomas, risk advisory partner at consulting and accounting firm Baker Tilly US. The two talk about the details of the new rules and cover topics like: The rules’ requirements for disclosing greenhouse gasses and climate risks How the rules compare to European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and California’s twin climate disclosure laws Which companies are required to comply and under what conditions How standardized reporting may help with comparability across companies  Recommended resources: Baker Tilly: SEC announces final rules for climate-related disclosures Deloitte: A landmark ruling for ESG disclosure requirements Reuters: US climate rule will boost sustainable accounting industry Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like solar and electrification. Join in under 2 minutes at joinatmos.com/catalyst.
Two major indicators of climate tech stocks – the S&P Clean Energy Index and the MAC Global Solar Index – are significantly trailing the overall market. They’ve been declining for months, down from their mid-pandemic highs when they performed far better than the rest of the economy. So what happened to climate tech investments in the public markets? And what do these investments tell us about the coming year for climate tech? In this episode, Shayle talks to Shanu Mathew, portfolio manager and research analyst at Lazard. They cover topics like: The macroeconomic factors behind this underperforming sector, like higher interest rates, election uncertainty, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine Trends in specific industries, like EVs, solar, and lithium Investors moving funds into (and paying more for) climate tech stocks with consistently higher performance  Analysts’ expectations for climate tech stocks in the the near- and long-term Recommended Resources: Shanu Mathew: Cleantech FY23 Recap And FY24 Outlook Catalyst: How has US industrial policy impacted climatetech investment? Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like solar and electrification. Join in under 2 minutes at joinatmos.com/catalyst.
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Jan 16th
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Joss Buttler

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Oct 10th
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William Vaughn

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Mar 18th
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