In another development towards sustainable solutions, Volvo Cars has joined forces with Eolus, a renowned player in the renewable energy sector. The two companies have recently inked a letter of intent to collaborate on the offshore wind power project known as Västvind, located off the coast of Gothenburg.
The primary aim of the Västvind offshore wind farm is to become a critical source of clean electricity for Volvo Cars’ operations on Hisingen, an island in the Gothenburg archipelago.
With a targeted installed capacity of 1,000 MW, this offshore wind farm holds the potential to yield a staggering 4-4.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable electricity annually. To put this into perspective, this amount of green energy would suffice to meet the current electricity and power demands of the entire city of Gothenburg.
Johan Lannering, the head of strategic collaborations at Volvo Cars, highlighted the global urgency surrounding the climate crisis. As part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Volvo Cars has set a bold objective to exclusively sell fully electric vehicles by the year 2030.
Its dedication extends to reducing the carbon footprint throughout a vehicle’s entire lifecycle, encompassing not only the manufacturing process but also the source of electricity used for production and powering the cars.
“We work hard to reduce the carbon footprint of the car’s entire life cycle, including the electricity used to manufacture the cars and their batteries,” said Lannering.
“By investing in electricity from offshore wind power outside Hisingen, we want to secure our opportunities to get locally produced, renewable electricity at a reasonable cost.”
The Västvind wind farm is strategically located in the Kungälv and Öckerö municipalities, within Sweden’s economic zone. As construction is slated to commence in 2027, it aims to reach completion by 2029.
The project is majority-owned by Eolus, holding a 95 percent stake, with Göteborgs Hamn AB possessing the remaining 5 percent.
Swedish Team Made A Breakthrough in Car Battery Recycling
A team of Swedish researchers has introduced an innovative way to recycle used electric car batteries, offering a major step towards more eco-friendly battery disposal.
This groundbreaking achievement allows for the recovery of 100 percent aluminium and 98 percent lithium from discarded batteries while also minimising the loss of nickel, cobalt, and manganese.
Until now, recycling all the vital materials from spent electric car batteries has been a real challenge. It required complex processes and the use of strong and often harmful chemicals.
However, a team of Swedish researchers from Chalmers University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has come up with a brilliant solution that doesn’t rely on expensive or hazardous chemicals.
Instead, they use oxalic acid, which is naturally present in various plants, including rhubarb.
“So far, no one has managed to find exactly the right conditions to separate this much lithium with oxalic acid—and also remove all the aluminium at the same time. Since all batteries contain aluminium, we need to be able to remove it without losing the other metals,” said Léa Rouquette, PhD student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.
“Since the metals have very different properties, we do not see that it should be difficult to separate them. Our new method shows a promising new path forward for battery recycling – a path that there is every reason to explore further.”
Martina Petranikova, the head of the research team, emphasised the necessity for alternative solutions to the current inorganic chemicals. She pointed out that a major challenge in today’s methods lies in the extraction of leftover materials, particularly aluminium.
“This is an innovative method that can provide the recycling industry with new alternatives and contribute to solving problems that hinder development,” said Petranikova.
The new liquid-based recycling method is known as hydrometallurgy. In conventional hydrometallurgy, “impurities” like aluminium and copper are initially removed from the material, followed by the extraction of valuable metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
While only small amounts of aluminium and copper remain, multiple purification steps are necessary, leading to some degree of metal wastage.
Meanwhile, the researchers’ novel approach focuses on separating lithium and aluminium first. As a result, it minimises the waste of valuable metals required for the production of new batteries.
Petranikova believed this method could be scaled up and become a practical choice for the industry in the near future. Her research group has collaborated with companies involved in electric car battery recycling, participating in significant research and development projects with partners, such as Volvo Cars and Northvolt’s Nybat project.
Renault Advances in Electric Vehicle Market with Conversion Kits
As a result of updated regulations and government subsidies to electrify traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, Renault has joined forces with tech firm R-Fit to develop its official conversion kits for Renault 4, Renault 5 and Twingo.
In addition to the cars, Renault has also partnered with Novumtech to start its first attempt to electrify trucks. In this project, the company has transformed a diesel truck into an electric vehicle by replacing the traditional diesel engine and gas tank with an electric motor and a 210 kWh battery pack.
The company has also installed a 22 kW on-board charger, although details about the electric motor’s specifications and range have not been disclosed.
By doing so, Renault aims to extend the lifespan of existing vehicles while simultaneously reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This marked an important step towards Renault’s commitment to “renewal, retrofitting, and recycling”.
Tesla Semi Leads in Electric Truck Performance
The importance of battery performance in electric vehicles can’t be understated. Tesla’s electric trailer tractor, the Tesla Semi, has taken a triumphant stride in this regard.
In an official event hosted by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), the Tesla Semi showcased its capabilities, delivering exceptional range, efficiency, and fast charging.
Over a span of two weeks, a fleet of 22 trucks started on a journey across North America, with every facet of their performance meticulously evaluated. This encompassed charging times, overall performance, range, and the total cost of ownership.
Among the participating vehicles, Tesla’s Semi trucks, operated by Pepsi, emerged as clear frontrunners. It achieved an impressive range of 40 miles on a single charge.
The vehicle also exhibited the ability to charge quickly, reaching an 80 percent charge in only 45 minutes. During the evaluation, the Tesla Semi averaged an impressive daily mileage of 92 miles.
Nikola secured the runner-up position. The electric truck managed an average daily mileage of 41 miles, followed by the Freightliner in third place with 29 miles. Meanwhile, the Volvo VNR Electric came in fourth place with 28 miles.