Skip to content
Opinion β€” Technology β€” Climate

πŸ’¬ "Which Tech is Overhyped, Underhyped & Just Right?"

Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Photo by Steve Johnson / Unsplash

Host: Shayle Kann
Guests: Lara Pierpoint | Director of Climate | Actuate &
Stephen Lacey | Co-Founder | Post Script Media
Category: πŸ’¬ Opinion | Climate Tech

Subscribe now

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:35] LP: β€œMy buy is advanced nuclear. […] [Companies] really understand markets and business models, and they're really starting to garner the kind of government support they really need to move forward. So we're seeing things like the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program from the federal government. […] The economy and some of the challenges around the world, I think, are actually making the conditions even a little bit better for nuclear. So Europe is the classic example. […] And then finally, we're actually seeing some real differences in public opinion. […] For the first time in decades, you actually see more people [in California] wanting to keep the Diablo Canyon [nuclear] plant open than wanting to close it.”

[10:47] SL: β€œI am buying heat pumps. […] I think the user experience is getting better. And at the same time, there's a very clear economic case for expanding heat pump production. We sell 4 million heat pumps a year in this country. And we sell 6 million residential air conditioning units. And according to an analysis […], if you just work with manufacturers to encourage them to switch those AC units into hybrid heating and cooling units, it would cost them about $300 to do that. […] So I think there's a lot of upside potential to deploying a lot more heat pumps than we do today. […] Electrification is the backbone of decarbonisation and heat pumps are a major piece of that electrification strategy.”

[16:33] SK: β€œMy buy relative to the current level of hype is non lithium ion battery chemistries for stationary energy storage. […] We're in an interesting time right now, where it turns out that when you have rising commodity prices, which we have for lithium ion batteries right now, […] in combination with a global supply chain crunch, […] battery OEMs […] will pick EVs over stationary storage, because they're going to sell way more batteries into electric vehicles than they are in to the grid. […] I think this is creating an opening for a bunch of alternative chemistries, flow batteries, sodium batteries, zinc based batteries, metal air batteries, bunch of other technologies.”

[22:44] SL: β€œI’m a hold on battery recycling. […] There are a couple different ways that we recycle batteries […] and these processes have historically been fairly expensive and time consuming and you don't capture all the material inside the batteries. But there are a ton of new companies […] that are deploying new processes […] to reclaim more materials inside lithium ion batteries. […] Beyond the technology itself, I think there's some really important factors here that are playing into the investor interest and the need for more battery recycling. And historically, it's been an environmental question, […] but now, with commodity prices going through the roof, with continued supply constraints because of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, you have this national security imperative. And so a lot of these companies are thinking about how do you create an American supply chain for metals and minerals that go into batteries? And I think now you have a really clear economic, national security, and environmental case for battery recycling.”

[28:27] SK: β€œMy hold is hydrogen. […] The problem with hydrogen in my mind is that in theory it can do everything and so people have sort of decided to apply it to everything. So I would be very much a sell if we're talking about hydrogen for passenger vehicles. But in the sectors where first of all we already use hydrogen, things like ammonia, chemicals production, and then potentially in a few other really difficult to abate industrial sectors, including to some extent in the power sector, I think hydrogen is going to play a significant role in decarbonisation.”

[33:42] LP: β€œMy hold is vehicle to grid. […] The reason I'm saying that is because I'm also hold on fleet electrification, which I think is going gangbusters. And part of I think what we're seeing is even more economic incentive to electrify fleets, given the cost of gas, and this is hitting companies to an even greater degree in some cases than it's hitting consumer pocketbooks. And I think if you electrify fleets, that's really the sweet spot for vehicle to grid applications, you start to see some actual real repositories of grid resources around both managed charging and potentially even serving as a battery of sorts.”

[36:23] SK: β€œI'm a sell on the intersection of Web3 and carbon markets. […] I think that there's a bunch of folks looking at carbon markets and saying, we can use Web3, crypto, blockchain, whatever, to solve the problems of a lack of transparency in the market, to solve the problem of liquidity and price discovery in the market. […] Though, it is possible that Web3 could be good to help improve those things, I do not think those things are the problem in the voluntary carbon market. So I think that they're attacking a problem that is not actually the challenge. The actual challenge is a very limited supply of high quality, carbon credits, or carbon removals, and a huge supply of really low quality, really bad carbon credits, or offsets.”

[38:44] LP: β€œMy sell is actually carbon to value. […] I think what's really going to drive some of the carbon markets in the near term are a lot of the companies that are actually interested in buying credits. And when they do that they […] increasingly want to see some level of permanence and clarity around what it is they're actually getting. So I'm hoping that that's an arena that starts driving more towards things like sequestration, rather than things like carbon to fuels, where you wind up actually getting a lot of carbon at the end of the lifecycle anyway.”

[40:22] SL: β€œMy sell is renewable natural gas, not because I think that renewable natural gas isn't a viable alternative for decarbonizing bits of the natural gas system, but because we don't have enough of it. […] Renewable natural gas is pipeline quality gas that can be interchange with conventional fossil gas and it's created by decomposing organic matter and from wastewater, or agricultural waste, or food waste. And so it is very much a viable technology, but pretty much every state study and government study shows that […] we're looking at between 5 and 20% of the total gas supply […] that we could supply [with renewable natural gas].”

Rating: ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️

πŸŽ™οΈ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
πŸ•°οΈ 51 min | πŸ—“οΈ 06/23/2022
βœ… Time saved: 48 min

Subscribe now