Our Impact & The Circular Economy
Our impact through the circular economy, low carbon transport and the energy transition.
The world is adopting electric transport so many vehicles will use batteries manufactured in the so called gigaplants now in development around the world. These batteries will have a finite life on-board vehicles but will be subsequently suited to an extended 2nd life in stationary energy storage.
• In developing technologies, partnerships and business models for reusing the enormous volumes of EV batteries that will become available, Connected Energy is pioneering a key component of a circular economy for EV batteries.
• An additional benefit is that the reuse of EV batteries will increase their residual value, thereby improving the affordability and uptake of e-mobility. This will in turn improve air quality and the lives of billions of people around the world.
• Stationary energy storage is also a key component of the energy transition, it is an essential part of the system that will facilitate the growth of uncontrollable and variable renewable electricity generation. Low cost, low impact energy storage will help accelerate the energy transition.
From linear to circular— Accelerating a proven concept
A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.
First, at its core, a circular economy aims to design out waste. Waste does not exist: products are designed and optimized for a cycle of disassembly and reuse. These tight component and product cycles define the circular economy and set it apart from disposal and even recycling, where large amounts of embedded energy and labour are lost.
Second, circularity introduces a strict differentiation between consumable and durable components of a product. Unlike today, consumables in the circular economy are largely made of biological ingredients or ‘nutrients’ that are at least non-toxic and possibly even beneficial, and can safely be returned to the biosphere, either directly or in a cascade of consecutive uses.
Durables such as engines or computers, on the other hand, are made of technical nutrients unsuitable for the biosphere, such as metals and most plastics. These are designed from the start for reuse, and products subject to rapid technological advance are designed for upgrade.
Third, the energy required to fuel this cycle should be renewable by nature, again to decrease resource dependence and increase systems resilience (to oil shocks, for example). For technical nutrients, the circular economy largely replaces the concept of a consumer with that of a user. This calls for a new contract between businesses and their customers based on product performance. Unlike in today’s buy-and-consume economy, durable products are leased, rented or shared wherever possible. If they are sold, there are incentives or agreements in place to ensure the return and thereafter the reuse of the product or its components and materials at the end of its period of primary use. (World Economic Forum)
The energy transition is a pathway toward transformation of the global energy sector from fossil-based to zero-carbon by the second half of this century. At its heart is the need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to limit climate change. Decarbonisation of the energy sector requires urgent action on a global scale, and while a global energy transition is underway, further action is needed to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Renewable energy and energy efficiency measures can potentially achieve 90% of the required carbon reductions. (International Renewable Energy Agency)
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