ISSUE #5: April 13, 2018
More on Next Generation Lithium-Ion Battery Technology
In the prior issue of Clean Slate, we highlighted the efforts being made to increase the effectiveness of lithium-ion batteries through advancements in the materials used in the anode. Sila Nanotechnologies is an example of one startup that is attempting to improve batteries by increasing the amount of silicon used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. Silicon can significantly increase the energy density of batteries as silicon can hold greater volumes of lithium ions versus the typical graphite used in traditional anodes. One major challenge is that silicon rich anodes degrade rapidly within just a few short charging cycles. Sila claims to have a technology that overcomes many of the shortcomings of silicon anodes. The company was founded by an early Tesla employee and has recently partnered with BMW to develop better batteries for electric vehicles:
Saudi Arabia and Masayoshi Son Go Big
Softbank and Saudi recently announced a partnership to invest approximately $200 million to install 200 GW of solar panels in Saudi Arabia by 2030. This is significantly larger than the previously discussed Saudi Arabian targets of 50 GW of installations. It is sometimes difficult to grasp the magnitude of some of these announcements, so we thought we would try to provide a few facts to demonstrate just how much 200 GW of solar really is. In 2017, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated that global solar installations were 98 GW, so Saudi Arabia will be installing more solar than was built throughout the entire world last year. Assuming the average solar panel today produces close to 300 watts of power, the 200 GW of solar projects would require more than 650 million solar panels and probably need about 500,000 acres of land.
New Zealand Looks Beyond Fossil Fuel
While a small economy not driven significantly by the energy sector, New Zealand’s Prime Minister announced it will stop issuing permits for new offshore oil and gas exploration as it strives to combat climate change through a goal of carbon neutrality. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern announced a goal of zero emissions by 2050, and an economy powered by 100% renewables by 2035.
European Utilities Move to U.S. to Embrace Disruption
Over the past ten years, as renewable energies have mainstreamed in Europe, utilities have had to adapt, investing and harnessing disruptive, low carbon energy sources as coal fired energy sources have waned given competition and government policies in favor of renewables. European utilities embraced renewables before their North American peers, and, anticipating the same industry progression in the U.S, have begun to acquire assets across the Atlantic.
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As of 3/31/18, the Fund's top ten holdings are FANUC CORP (4.18%), Philips Lighting NC (4.11%), Xylem, Inc. (3.93%), Keyence Corp. (3.37%), TPI Composites, Inc. (3.54%), Umicore SA (3.32%), Sensata Technologies Holding NV (3.22%), Kornit Digital, Ltd. (3.10%), Raven Industries, Inc. (3.01%), and Itron Inc. (2.97%)
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