Is fat algae a new sustainable biodiesel?

Green and renewable energy using algae is not so new, but according to scientists from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) and ExxonMobil (XOM:US)  they have found the way how to produce energy-rich fat in the algae in order to use that to produce biodiesel at an industrian scale.

According to companies success in developing algae-based biodiesel at commercial levels will provide a number of tangible benefits.  “The fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than most conventional energy sources, and that will help strengthen our ongoing transition to low-emission energy resources. Also, unlike other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, algae production at an industrial scale would not stress food production”, the companies say.

Exxon says that to boost fat production, SGI scientists worked with their counterparts at ExxonMobil as nutritionists of sorts, tweaking the part of the algae genome responsible for the assimilation of nitrogen, an essential nutrient. The change is an algae with about 40 percent of its biomass as fat. “That’s more than double the fat content of conventional algae”, the company states.

Exxon published this finding in their second quarter earnings call in July this year. The companys is expected to publish the third quarter earnings on the 27th October. The company market value is 349 billion dollars and stock performance has been -1, 19 percent during this year.

Business Lifestyle

Samsung to invest in connected cars

The South-Korean technology company Samsung (005930) has announced it will invest in connected cars and AI via its new 300 million dollars tech fund. Samusung made the announcement during the International Motor Show in Frankfurt last week.

According to the company the new fund, part of the Harman International company, will focus on smart sensors, connected solutions and security.  A big part will also be advanced driver assistance services (ADAS). Harman company is known for its navigation services and onboard entertainment systems. The company was bought by Samsung with 8 billion dollars in 2016.

Samsung has also announced that it will start to test autonomous driving in California and Korea.

Tech

Breitling SuperOcean is a Classic

The Breitling SuperOcean Heritage is a Classic. According to the Swiss company, Breitling has redesigned its Superocean Héritage line, dedicated to modern-day explorers. The result is a new face as original, pure and dynamic as ever, for this highly successful collection that is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

To mark the 60th anniversary of this pioneer of wide-open spaces, Breitling had reinvigorated its iconic design while maintaining its unique character. The main development took the form of a new steel bezel with an ultra-hard high-tech ceramic ring that is scratchproof and extremely shock-resistant. The elimination of the metal ring surrounding the minute circle means the bezel appears to form a seamless whole with the dial in a matching color, adorned with the original Superocean logo.

The Superocean Héritage II is interpreted in two watch sizes (42 and 46 mm) and as a 46 mm chronograph, all available in three colors: black, blue and bronze. The latter versions are available with an exclusive brand-new rubber-leather strap in the same color and enhanced by contrasting stitching.

Lifestyle

BNEF: Sales of electric cars to 3 million by 2021

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance´s (BNEF)  new study the electric car markets will grow faster than earlier expected. The forecast shows EV sales worldwide growing steadily in the next few years, from the record 700,000 seen last year to 3 million by 2021. 

The general finding is that EVs will not just have lower lifetime costs, but will also be cheaper to buy than internal combustion engine cars in most countries by 2025-29. This is because of tumbling battery prises.

Electric vehicles will make up the majority of new car sales worldwide by 2040, and account for 33% of all the light-duty vehicles on the road, according to the study.

It also confirms the recent announcements from car manufacturers related to electric cars. For example Volvo released their commitment to electric cars a couple of weeks ago saying that they will focus on hybrid or totally electric cars from 2019 onwards. The first totally electric Volvo-cars will be build in China, but later on also in Europe and  the US.

robots Tesla

Picture: Robots in Tesla factory. The new Tesla Model 3 was ready from the production line in California on Monday this week.

By 2040, EVs will be displacing 8 million barrels of transport fuel per day and adding 5% to global electricity consumption.

According to the study, since 2010, lithium-ion battery prices have fallen 73% per kWh. Manufacturing improvements and more than a doubling in battery energy density are set to cause a further fall of more than 70% by 2030.

Business Tech

TaskForce: Four key areas related to climate change and financial disclosures

Financial Stability Board and its working group, the Task Force, has published its recommendations for companies related to climate change and financial disclosures. This working group was established in December 2015  to set a voluntary, consistent disclosure for companies.

The 32 industry members of the Task Force, who are drawn from a wide range of industries and countries from around the globe, finalised the recommendations after extensive public engagement and consultation, including public consultation on a draft of the recommendations in December 2016.

The TCFD developed four recommendations on climate-related financial disclosures that are applicable to organisations across sectors and jurisdictions. The recommendations are structured around four thematic areas:

  • Governance: The organisation’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities
  • Strategy: The actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organisation’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning
  • Risk Management: The processes used by the organisation to identify, assess and manage climate-related risks
  • Metrics and Targets: The metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities

In a joint statement, the TaskForce leaders say: “We encourage other business leaders to join us in this united effort to improve disclosure across sectors and regions. The Task Force’s recommendations will catalyze more consistent, comparable, and reliable disclosure of climate-related information that will facilitate more informed business and investment decision-making. These disclosures are an important step forward in enabling market forces to drive efficient allocation of capital and support a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.” This private-sector TaskForce was chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg.

The signatories include for example companies like Aviva, Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Borsa Italiana, London Stock Exchange, Calpers, Citigroup, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PWC, ING Group, Moody´s, S&P and UBS Group.

The recommendations are backed by over 100 companies with market capitalisations of over 3,3 trillion US dollars and financial firms responsible for assets of more than 24 trillion US dollars.

The Financial Stability Board promotes international financial stability; it does so by coordinating national financial authorities and international standard-setting bodies as they work toward developing strong regulatory, supervisory and other financial sector policies.

Finance Business

BoE: Climate change and the systemic risk

IMG_0869The Bank of England (BoE) has published (16th June) its updated analysis of the climate change and systemic risk. According to the bank´s bulletin the central bank is focusing on the physical and transition risk sides of the climate change. This means for example that the central bank is entering more deeper co-operation with insurance companies and also reviewing climate-related risks in the UK banking sector.

The central bank is supporting the market transition to low-carbon economy with different co-operations in global and local markets. The bank is saying that a successful transition to a lower cardon future will require the engagement of wide range of actors, including central banks and financial regulatos.

According to the study, the next fifteen years will be critical while the global economy is undertaking a deep structural transformation. This would mean that around 90 trillion US dollars will be likely to be invested in infrastructure in the world´s urban, land use and energy systems until 2030. This estimate is based on Global Commission on the Economy and Climate organization.

But also the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that 26 trillion US dollars of additional investments is needed in renewables and energy efficiency between 2015 and 2040 to achieve the 2* Celcius Paris climate agreeement target.

Green Finance barriers

Green Finance and Green Bonds are seen as new financial tools to help the transition to low carbon economy.  According to the Bank of England, there are still some barriers to be solved in order to scale up the green finance.

One obstacle is  the lack of integration of environmental impact in the investment process, which will lead to sub-optimal allocation of capital. The others include for example maturity mismatch between short-term and long-term needs, lack of clarity of green definitions, lack of relevant disclosure information of environmental issues and the level of understanding of the financial implications of environmental risks.

According to the BoE, G20 leaders and TaskForce will discuss Climate Change issues and this low-carbon transition in their meeting in Hamburg, July 7.-8. 2017.

Business Finance