Catalyst with Shayle Kann

By Post Script Media + Canary Media

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Subscribers: 70
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MFW
 Aug 5, 2022
Disappointed in Jesse Jenkins disdain for the political process. Any legislation passed with 50 votes can be undone with 50. Gaining consensus has long run value. Not all of your listeners are Democrats.

Martin (Octavia Carbon)
 Jun 19, 2022
Best climate tech podcast I've seen. Rigorous analysis from experts, systematically around all climate tech verticals.

Description

Investor Shayle Kann is asking big questions about how to decarbonize the planet: How cheap can clean energy get? Will artificial intelligence speed up climate solutions? Where is the smart money going into climate technologies? Every week on Catalyst, Shayle explains the world of "climate tech" with prominent experts, investors, researchers, and executives. The show is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Episode Date
Is the Inflation Reduction Act a win for EVs and batteries?
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Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  Depending on which headlines you read, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will either hurt U.S. electric vehicle sales by replacing existing tax credits with complicated new ones or build out a North American battery supply chain and rev up EV sales. So which is it? In this episode, Shayle talks to Sam Jaffe, vice president of battery solutions at E-Source, about the key provisions of the IRA’s EV and battery tax credits. Sam explains how the IRA will spur a North American EV battery supply chain in the long run but will also create winners and losers along the way.  There’s a $30 billion pot of money for various tax credits and limited time to make use of them. Who will get to it first? There are already some early movers. Sam explains the key provisions: The EV components tax credit reduces the cost of EVs whose batteries contain materials assembled in the U.S. or its free-trade partner countries. This includes electrodes, electrolyte components and cells.  The strategic minerals tax credit reduces the cost of EVs whose batteries contain minerals mined and processed in the U.S. or its free-trade partner countries. These minerals include lithium, cobalt, and rare earth metals, among others. The 45X advanced manufacturing production credit reduces the cost of making batteries in the U.S. Certain credits ratchet up the percentage of materials required to qualify over several years. So once an EV model qualifies, it will have to maintain eligibility by getting a larger and larger share of its components and minerals from approved countries. They also cover which part of the battery industry will benefit more– the EV battery side or the stationary storage side. And Sam explains why he’s paying attention to the Treasury Department’s forthcoming guidance on the tax credits. Resources: The New York Times: For Electric Vehicle Makers, Winners and Losers in Climate Bill Canary Media: Private-sector reactions to the Inflation Reduction Act Canary Media: 6 clean energy companies that are ramping up US manufacturing   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Sep 29, 2022
Columbia Energy Exchange: Will Putin’s Energy Strategy Backfire?
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Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  Winter is coming. The energy crisis that is afflicting Europe and other parts of the world is worsening as Russia weaponizes natural gas. This energy crisis has effects across climate tech, and so today we’re bringing you an episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, a podcast from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. On Catalyst, we don’t usually dig so deep into geopolitics and policy, but this crisis has big implications for markets, investment and technology.  After Russian President Vladimir Putin turned off supply of Russian gas through the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month, prices across Europe soared – causing severe pain for manufacturers and consumers, and pushing the region closer to recession. European countries are weighing emergency measures, like price caps and rationing. In addition to the immediate energy crisis, key questions remain about what all of this means for the clean energy transition. The supply of critical materials for clean energy technologies – such as copper, lithium, and cobalt – will also present challenges. A recent report by S&P Global predicted that demand for copper will double by 2035 as a consequence of the energy transition, and it is unclear if the existing supply chains can sustain such an increase.  How can governments and companies address the energy crisis without sacrificing progress on climate? And how might current and future supply shortages change the geopolitical landscape? This week, Columbia Energy Exchange host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Dan Yergin, an internationally known authority on energy, geopolitics, and economics. He sits on the boards of numerous institutions – including Columbia’s Center of Global Energy Policy. Dr. Yergin is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.” And his most recent book, “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations,” illustrates the greatest issues of geopolitics and energy today.  He is the Vice Chairman of S&P Global, and was the project Chairman for the report, “The Future of Copper: Will the looming supply gap short-circuit the energy transition?” Jason spoke with Dr. Yergin about the ongoing energy crisis, the supply of critical materials, and the future of energy superpowers. Resources: Simon & Schuster: The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power Penguin Random House: The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Sep 22, 2022
Averting water wars as we decarbonize
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Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism.  We designed our power plants, refineries, and other energy infrastructure to depend on water. But not just any kind of water—water that’s available at the right quantity, quality, place and time. When water falls outside of this Goldilocks zone, energy systems can unravel, sometimes in unexpected ways. Low water levels strain hydroelectric and thermal power production and restrict coal shipments by river. Extreme cold freezes water in natural gas infrastructure, causing blackouts. Examples abound. The irony is that the energy system fuels climate change, which in turn fuels water problems for the energy system.  So how do we address these vulnerabilities as we decarbonize? And how can we build a resilient water-energy system in an increasingly chaotic climate? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival. Michael is a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas-Austin and chief technology officer at Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner.  They cover topics like: The surprising places we use water in energy, like extracting minerals and natural gas, growing crops for biofuels and sequestering carbon The ways energy improves the quantity and quality of water, allowing us to move water longer distances, reach deeper wells and desalinate water How to avoid exacerbating water problems as we decarbonize Whether cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear fusion will power wide-spread desalination Why the data on water systems is so scarce compared to energy systems How prescient the new Mad Max water-war movies are Resources: Yale University Press: Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival The New York Times: Europe’s Scorching Summer Puts Unexpected Strain on Energy Supply The New York Times: China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Sep 15, 2022
Could geothermal become a major zero-emissions player?
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Drill down far enough anywhere in the world and you reach temperatures hot enough to generate firm, reliable zero-emission electricity. That’s the hope for new geothermal technologies that could scale the industry beyond well-known geothermal hot spots like Iceland. But first the industry needs to overcome major challenges in financing and technology. It has also to deal with the public opinion around the oil and gas industry, which may be an essential partner in scaling geothermal because of its overlapping expertise in drilling and underground exploration. In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks with Jamie Beard, executive director of Project Innerspace, a non-profit focused on expanding the use of geothermal energy globally.  Current geothermal technology relies on naturally occurring underground hot spots, common in places like Iceland and the western U.S.. But an approach called enhanced geothermal systems or “hot, dry rock,” would make geothermal available around the world, potentially adding hundreds of gigawatts to current geothermal capacity. Lara and Jamie discuss major questions facing the geothermal industry, like: How and where to drill for consistent hot temperatures?  How long before a well is depleted of heat-carrying capacity?  What sort of surveying and information do funders need to deal with exploration risks?  How can the industry take advantage of the co-benefits of geothermal drilling, such as lithium extraction, carbon sequestration and waste heat? What working fluids, like water or critical CO2, are appropriate for a given project? How viable are geothermal-source heat pumps and how do they compare to air-source heat pumps? What are the potential environmental impacts of geothermal? What role should the oil and gas industry play in scaling this zero-emission technology? Resources: Canary Media: Advanced geothermal heats up with $138M round for startup Fervo Energy Department of Energy: DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot to Slash the Cost of Geothermal Power Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Sep 09, 2022
The dirt on soil carbon credits
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Soil is a massive carbon sink that’s stored away emissions for centuries. But years of destructive farming practices have released much of this carbon. Could incentivizing farmers help restore—and expand—soil’s carbon-carrying capacity?  In theory, yes. But the market for soil carbon credits—literally paying farmers to improve their practices—needs serious reform.   In this episode, Shayle talks with Freya Chay, program manager for carbon removal at CarbonPlan. The fundamental problem is that the existing carbon credits don’t do what they say they will do: permanently lock away additional carbon. Freya and Shayle survey the big challenges of the market and explore potential fixes, covering questions like: How do we measure—using models, samplings and satellites—the amount of carbon in a plot of soil? What tools do we have to make sure the carbon will stay in the ground, such as buffer pools and ton-year accounting? The additionality question: Without the credit, would the carbon have been captured anyway? Or would it have remained locked away anyway? What role could third-party grading systems play in differentiating high-quality credits from low-quality ones? Resources: CarbonPlan: A buyer’s guide to soil carbon offsets CarbonPlan: Unpacking ton-year accounting Canary Media: Carbon storage gets dirty: The movement to sequester CO2 in soils Sylvera: Carbon Credit Ratings: Frameworks & Processes White Paper   Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Aug 25, 2022
Booking your first zero-emissions flight
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In aviation, there’s a crowd of low-carbon technologies vying for a slice of the market. On one hand, the long-haul portion of the market will likely rely on sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) which still emit greenhouse gasses but could be offset to net-zero. On the other hand, there’s a big share of air traffic that could go completely zero-emissions with the help of batteries and hydrogen.  So how soon could you book a ticket on a zero-emissions flight? And what routes are possible? In this episode, Shayle talks with Jayant Mukhopadhaya, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Jayant recently authored two reports on electric aircraft and hydrogen aircraft. Shayle and Jayant dig in on some tough questions:  Can electric aircraft take incremental steps into the market given the limitations of current battery energy densities? Or do they need a technology breakthrough? How do hydrogen fuel cell, compressed hydrogen combustion, and liquid hydrogen combustion compare? How do airports need to prepare for hydrogen fueling? Hint: Terminal-sized upgrades. Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Resources: Canary Media: Can battery-powered airplanes decarbonize air travel?  Canary Media: How do we clean up air travel? Fuel from fast-food grease is just the start Bloomberg (video): Hydrogen May Be the Jet Fuel of the Future Catalyst: A bumpy ride toward decarbonizing aviation Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Aug 18, 2022
Will charging infrastructure be a bottleneck for electric vehicles?
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Electric vehicles (EVs) are moving quickly toward mass adoption. So how do we make sure that charging infrastructure keeps up? The people who own, operate and install chargers have some big questions to answer:  Can public chargers run a profit, and how do business models need to change to accelerate deployment? Why is it so hard to repair broken stations? Does it matter where we install new ones? When will chargers be as ubiquitous and easy to use as gas stations? In this episode, Shayle digs into these questions with colleague Cassie Bowe, partner at the venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners, where she focuses on mobility. Cassie outlines the trajectory of charger deployment over the years, comparing charger accessibility in the U.S, China and Europe.  Shayle and Cassie cover smart charging (also known as V1G) and V2G, as well as the commodification of charging hardware. Plus, how soon we might see wireless charging and why Shayle doesn’t have an EV yet.  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Aug 11, 2022
What the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would mean for climatetech
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The $369 billion climate and tax bill from Sen. Joe Manchin III and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer caught everyone by surprise. Democrats had abandoned their climate legislation last month after Manchin, a must-have vote for Democrats, signaled his opposition to it. But late last week Manchin and Schumer announced they had revived the deal under a new name – The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. If passed, it would be the most ambitious climate action in U.S. history. And now with support from another key swing vote, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the bill is an important step closer to passage. So what would the bill do? In this episode, Shayle talks to Princeton professor Jesse Jenkins. Jesse leads the REPEAT Project, which analyzed the effects of the bill in a report released today. Overall, the bill would make clean energy cheaper and build up the capacity of climatetech industries in the U.S. and its allies across multiple sectors of the economy, including power, transportation, heavy industry and buildings.  Shayle and Jesse walk through the key provisions in the proposed legislation and their predicted impacts, including: Hundreds of new gigawatts of solar and wind capacity, plus new technology-neutral tax credits to support other technologies such as advanced nuclear Building up a North American supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs) Reducing the costs of EVs, sustainable aviation fuels, energy storage, hydrogen and more Increased energy security for medium- and low-income households, such as installing heat pumps and insulation Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Aug 05, 2022
Watt It Takes: TeraWatt Infrastructure CEO Neha Palmer
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We're bringing you something different today. It's an episode of one of our favorite podcasts, called Watt It Takes hosted by Emily Kirsch of Powerhouse Ventures.  We talk a lot on Catalyst about how to finance and build climatetech. What we don’t always get into are the personal stories of people who are trying to do that work. That’s exactly what Watt It Takes does. The show tells the stories of founders who are building a zero-carbon world — their upbringings, their risks, their failures, and their breakthroughs. This episode is about Neha Palmer, CEO of TeraWatt Infrastructure, which builds large-scale electric vehicle charging hubs for medium and heavy transport. Tens of millions of delivery vans and semi trucks move around the clock to keep supply chains humming. These medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up more than 25 percent of transportation emissions in the US — even though they only make up 10 percent of all vehicles on the road. We need to electrify medium and heavy-duty vehicles to meet our climate goals. But, how do we build and operate the charging infrastructure to power them? That charging network is exactly what TeraWatt Infrastructure is building. TeraWatt develops, owns, and manages charging infrastructure for these large vehicles. The company integrates hardware, software, and grid services along with on-site chargers. TerraWatt has a growing portfolio of land in strategic locations across the country that enables it to build and operate that charging infrastructure. TeraWatt brings together a team of experts from data centers, transportation logistics, and electric cars. The more complex the high-powered charging needs, the better suited TeraWatt is for the task. Watt It Takes host Emily Kirsch sat down with Neha to learn what it takes to electrify a sector with such massive energy demand. They talked about founding TeraWatt after Neha left Google, where she was a key figure in that company's ambitious renewable energy strategy. And they discuss the unique demands of heavy-duty transportation. Powerhouse is an innovation firm that works with leading global corporations to help them find, partner with, invest in, and acquire the most innovative startups in clean energy, mobility, and climate. Powerhouse Ventures backs seed-stage startups building innovative software to rapidly decarbonize our global energy and mobility systems. You can learn more at powerhouse.fund, and you can subscribe to our newsletter at https://www.powerhouse.fund/subscribe. If you like the show, subscribe on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Jul 28, 2022
Seeking the holy grail of batteries
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If there were a holy grail of electric vehicle batteries, it would be low-weight, long-range, and fast-charging. It would last a million miles and cost less than anything produced today. So in the booming EV battery market, what kind of battery will check all those boxes? Who will invent it? And do we really need all those features in one battery in the first place? In this episode, Shayle talks to Sam Jaffe, vice president of battery solutions at E-Source. They trace the history of the two major competing lithium-ion chemistries: Lithium Iron (or ferrous) Phosphate (LFP) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC). Sam and Shayle also discuss the factors that shaped this competition, like China, Tesla, and access to capital. They discuss new partnerships between battery manufacturers and automakers, including LG and GM, Samsung SDI and Stellantis, ACC and Mercedes And they cover questions like: Who decides which chemistries to develop — automakers or battery part manufacturers?  Will a small number of chemistries dominate or will there be a rapid diversification of battery chemistries to meet different needs? Is fast charging a nice-to-have or need-to-have? Will the rising costs of battery materials, especially lithium, slow the adoption of EVs?  Plus, Sam explains why he is no longer bearish on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Jul 21, 2022
Crossing the valley of death
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In climatetech, the ‘valley of death’ describes the lack of capital for newer solutions, especially those that mainstream investors view as unproven. The climate tech world is full of technologies that would be fantastic tools for fighting the climate crisis, if only they could cross this valley of death and scale. Scott Jacobs co-founded Generate Capital in 2014 to help address this problem. In this episode Shayle talks to Scott about how to successfully finance first-of-a-kind climatetech. They cover technologies like electric bus leasing, anaerobic digesters, microgrids and EV fleet charging infrastructure. And they dig in on: Winning over investors who don't have the time to understand complex technologies or business models The kinds of support, beyond capital, that first-of-a-kind technologies need from investors  Navigating the rising cost of capital and supply chain problems When exactly technologies have proven themselves in the eyes of investors Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Jul 14, 2022
The Carbon Copy: Get ready for the battery recycling boom
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On the Carbon Copy podcast this week: It’s been over three months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves into global oil markets, causing supply constraints and skyrocketing prices. The conflict has complicated the flow of energy at a time when supply chains were already jumbled up because of Covid. But it’s not just oil. The war is leaving its mark on all kinds of commodities, including the global supplies of minerals and metals. Geopolitical shifts are causing big spikes in the prices of lithium and nickel, two key components of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. However, this supply mess could actually be boosting a positive trend in the battery space: recycling.  Batteries are a pillar of the zero-carbon economy, but are they truly sustainable? And will technical advancements and evolving geopolitical alliances alter the battery-based economy for the better? Our guest is Julian Spector, a senior reporter with Canary Media. Check out his latest report on five exciting startups tackling battery recycling from different angles. And check out all of Canary’s Recycling Renewables special coverage. The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Jul 07, 2022
How to Save a Planet: Spark Tank! How Do We Solve the Energy Storage Problem?
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It’s shark week! Or ‘spark’ week? Today we’re bringing you an episode of How to Save a Planet, in which Shayle steps into the shoes of a Shark Tank-style judge. This episode is all about (drum-roll please): Storage! ...Exciting, right? Ok, we’ll prove it to you. Each day, more and more of our electricity comes from intermittent renewables like wind and solar. To balance out our electric grid in the future, we’ll need new ways of storing extra energy, so we can still turn on our lights when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. This week, with help from Dr. Leah Stokes and Shayle Kann, we explore the wild world of energy storage, from a hidden underground lair to a piping hot thermos full of poison. And did we mention it’s a gameshow? Guests Dr. Leah Stokes, Professor of Climate and Energy Policy at University of California, Santa Barbara Shayle Kann, Climate Tech Investor at Energy Impact Partners Len Greene, Director of Government Affairs and Communications, FirstLight Power Curtis VanWalleghem, CEO of Hydrostor Dr. Cristina Prieto, Professor of Engineering at the University of Seville Calls to Action Learn more about energy storage Pumped Hydro Compressed Air Molten Salts And for a really wild one: check out Energy Vault Learn more about our electric grid, with our episodes How We Got our Grid and How We Get a Better One and Party Like It’s 2035 We still want to see your climate Venn diagrams! For inspiration, check out ClimateVenn.info. Post your diagram to Instagram and tag us at @how2saveaplanet. We’ll be reposting examples listeners share with us. Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Send us your ideas or feedback with our Listener Mail Form. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram. This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Daniel Ackerman. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis, Rachel Waldholz and Anna Ladd. Our supervising producer is Matthew Shilts. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Our intern is Janae Morris. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger. Our fact checker for this episode was James Gaines. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.  Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.
Jul 01, 2022
Which tech is overhyped, underhyped and just right?
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Within the climate tech world, technology hype is all over the map. In this episode, Lara Pierpoint, director of climate at Actuate, and Stephen Lacey, host of The Carbon Copy and executive producer of Catalyst, join Shayle for a game of “buy sell hold.” They take bets on which technologies are either overhyped, underhyped or just right. They cover a range of topics, including: Advanced nuclear, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rejection of Oklo’s reactor designs and shifting opinions around nuclear Whether the concern around hydrogen leakage and its greenhouse effect is overblown Heat pumps, including the Biden administration’s efforts to boost production with the National Defense Production Act and a new report on how a proposed federal program to incentivize heat pumps could save Americans over $27 billion Non-lithium-ion batteries for stationary storage, which may see an opening in the market as lithium-ion batteries become expensive due to rising commodity prices and backedup supply chains. The state of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies and fleet electrification Battery recycling, which is picking up speed due to concerns about the environmental impact of production and a shortage of materials Whether web3- and crypto-climate startups are solving the right problem Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.
Jun 23, 2022
Making sense of solar engineering
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In some climate circles, solar geoengineering is akin to a swear word. Also known as solar radiation modification (SRM), it means deliberately modifying the earth’s atmosphere to reflect solar radiation. It provokes forceful pushback, because it’s unclear how it would affect the earth’s agriculture, ozone layer and ecosystems. But it’s been attracting interest because it’s clear it would do one thing well: cool the planet. If we’re not moving fast enough on emissions reductions and carbon removal to avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, could solar geoengineering, despite its risks, be less dangerous than a hotter world? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dan Visioni, a climate modeler who studies solar geoengineering at Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. They discuss what solar geoengineering might look like in the real world.  Stratospheric sulfate injections would mimic the effects of volcanic eruptions like Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which cooled the planet by 0.5 degrees Celsius in the following year.  Marine cloud brightening would use salt aerosols to brighten a type of cloud that reflects solar radiation, a phenomenon already created by ocean-going ships. They also cover cirrus cloud thinning and—straight out of a sci-fi movie—space mirrors. They explore key questions, such as: What do we know about the potential effects on ozone, precipitation and ecosystems? What do we need to research and what could we learn by testing? Which could scale faster—Carbon dioxide removal or solar geoengineering?  Solar geoengineering could cost a tiny fraction of the amount required to scale up CDR. Does that mean it could buy us time to draw down emissions more cheaply? Or does the relative affordability enable a rogue actor to deploy it without international collaboration? And who gets to decide whether the world deploys solar geoengineering? Whose hand is on the thermostat, so to speak? Links: Nobel prize winner Paul Crutzen’s influential 2006 paper on stratospheric sulfur injection A provocative New York Times Op-Ed promoting geoengineering from David Keith, professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard who studies geoengineering Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.
Jun 16, 2022
Introducing Climavores: a new show about food and climate
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We're presenting a trailer for a new show from Post Script Media, called Climavores. Climavores is a show for eaters who don’t want to cook the planet. Each week, journalists Tamar Haspel and Mike Grunwald explore the complicated, confusing, and surprising relationship between food and the environment.  Episodes drop on June 21. Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
Jun 13, 2022
From biowaste to “biogold”
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Biomass. It's the organic matter in forests, agriculture and trash. You can turn it into electricity, fuel, plastic and more. And you can engineer it to capture extra carbon dioxide and sequester it underground or at the bottom of the ocean.  The catch: The world has a finite capacity for biomass production, so every end use competes with another. If done improperly, these end uses could also compete with food production for arable land already in tight supply. So which decarbonization solutions will get a slice of the biomass pie? Which ones should? In this episode, Shayle talks to Julio Friedmann, chief scientist at Carbon Direct. They cover the sources of biomass, everything from municipal solid waste to kelp. They also survey the potential end-uses, such as incineration to generate power, gasification to make hydrogen, and pyrolyzation to make biochar, as well as fuel production in a Fischer-Tropsch process.  In a report from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Julio and his co-authors propose a new term called biomass carbon removal and storage, or ‘BiCRS’, as a way to describe capturing carbon in biomass and then sequestering it. Startups Charm Industrial and Running Tide are pursuing this approach. Julio and his co-authors think of BiCRS as an alternative pathway to bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).  They then zoom in on a promising source of biomass: waste. Example projects include a ski hill built on an incinerator in Copenhagen and a planned waste-to-hydrogen plant in Lancaster, California.  Shayle and Julio also dig into questions like: How to procure and transport biomass, especially biowaste, at scale?  How to avoid eco-colonialism, i.e. when wealthy countries exploit the resources of poorer countries to grow biomass without meaningful consent? If everyone wants it, when is biowaste no longer waste? And when there’s a shortage of waste—like corn stover, for example—what’s the risk of turning to raw feedstocks, like corn? How to pickle trees? (yes, you read that right) Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.
Jun 09, 2022
Climate tech’s surprising bottleneck – land access
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There’s a bottleneck in climate tech that we don’t talk about enough: land availability. It’s a physical resource you need to support biomass, renewables, mineral mining, and other essential tools of decarbonization. So how much is enough, and where do we need it? In this episode, Shayle talks to his colleague Andy Lubershane, managing director of research at Energy Impact Partners. Andy argues that land—geography, landscape and the rights to land—will be a common constraint among climatetech solutions as we reach gigaton-scale reductions of emissions. Andy and Shayle survey the industries where the availability of land could play a critical role, exploring questions like: How much land will we need for solar and wind power in deep decarbonization scenarios like the Net Zero America Study, and where? How does that amount of land change depending on siting, permitting and regulatory challenges of building transmission? What about the “pores” of underground space needed for carbon sequestration and hydrogen storage? For technologies that require both land for renewables and underground storage for carbon sequestration, like Direct Air Capture, where do those locations overlap? Could we see a run on waste biomass, given the tight supply of arable land suitable for producing new biomass?  Where will access to land constrain supply of metals needed for batteries and infrastructure? Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.
Jun 02, 2022
Tapping the goldmine of consumer energy data
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Consumer energy data is vital to the energy transition, especially distributed energy resources (DERs). For example, a rooftop solar company needs consumer energy data to analyze bill savings from a potential solar installation. An electric vehicle (EV) charging company needs it to offer a customer special rates on EV charging. But that data has long been incredibly difficult to access – available only in PDFs and hard-to-access utility databases – often coming in very different formats and standards. And yet companies are trying to overcome these challenges by bringing that data into easy-to-use interfaces. Arcadia is one such company. Earlier this month it raised $200 million, an investment that valued the company at $1.5 billion. Yesterday, Arcadia purchased commercial energy-data provider Urjanet.  In this episode, Shayle talks to Arcadia CEO Kiran Bhatraju about how to build a business around consumer energy data and how that data could become a goldmine for DER providers.  A few important disclosures: Shayle’s firm Energy Impact Partners (EIP) is an investor in Arcadia. EIP led the company's Series A and has invested in every round since. Arcadia is a sponsor of this podcast. Kiran is also a friend of Shayle’s, and Shayle is an Arcadia customer. Shayle and Kiran discuss key questions about consumer data, such as: What are the most valuable data points? Kiran and Shayle talk about grid carbon intensity, on-time bill payments and more. What level of fidelity do we need from the data? Do we need precise real-time data to prove savings to customers and support higher DER sales, or will high-level estimates suffice? Do we need an ever-expanding pool of smart devices, or can we unlock most of the value with a few key devices, such as a hot water heater, heat pump and EV charger? How do you develop a moat that protects you from competitors in the consumer data space? What could the future of the DER market look like? Kiran argues that DER providers will shift from selling widgets to selling platforms and packages as whole-home managers. Plus, Shayle reveals the smartest business idea that he ever turned into reality. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.
May 26, 2022
How will the downturn affect climate tech?
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Stock markets are in decline. Inflation is on the rise. Interest rates are up. Private tech companies are laying off workers.  Is this the long-awaited market correction that never quite materialized during the bull market of the last 13 years? And what does it mean for climate tech?  In this episode, Shayle talks to Saloni Multani, a partner at Galvanize Climate Solutions and former chief financial officer for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.  Shayle and Saloni place the current moment in historical context. They cover the recent wave of low-cost capital that poured into climate tech and the low interest rates that gave renewables an advantage over fossil-fuel investments.  And they dive into some pressing questions like: Are the broader market impacts on climate tech delayed? Or is climate tech somehow more insulated than general tech companies? The green premium question: Will a downturn in the market jeopardize investments in more expensive but lower-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels, such as airlines’ recent purchases of Sustainable Aviation Fuels, or SAFs? How should climate tech investors rethink their strategies? What should entrepreneurs expect in the coming years? Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.
May 19, 2022
Shayle’s “ask me anything” episode
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We’re reversing roles today by taking listener questions for our host, Shayle Kann. He’s usually the one interviewing our guests, but he also has expertise (and maybe a few hot takes) to share. He leads a $350 million fund that invests in early-stage climate startups, so he spends most of his time trying to figure out which technologies and businesses will help us decarbonize as quickly as possible. GreenBiz senior energy analyst Sarah Golden joins the show to ask Shayle your questions and dissect the answers with him.  They cover: The causes of rising solar costs and other troubles in the solar industry  The biggest bottlenecks in climate tech The the startups that are trying to reduce the carbon intensity of fertilizing crops amid a global fertilizer crisis The overhyped hate for crypto mining  The race between synthetic fuels (aka synfuels) and biofuels What happens to the pace of deployment for Direct Air Capture if power grids are slower to decarbonize than expected? Plus: Shayle’s owl tattoo and the drinking game Shayle’s wife made up for whenever he begins listing things.  Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.
May 12, 2022
Growing the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) market
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Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is having a moment. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the world cannot meet the targets of the Paris Agreement without removing hundreds of gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere. Big companies like Alphabet, Stripe and others have formed the Frontier Fund, a nearly $1 billion joint-effort to jump-start the market to purchase CDR offsets. Elon Musk is even sponsoring a $100 million X-Prize focused on it. We’re not talking about point-source carbon capture and storage, often called CCS. And we’re not just talking about Direct Air Capture or planting trees, the most well-known forms of CDR. Carbon Dioxide Removal also includes technologies involving kelp, bamboo, cement, mangroves, biochar, and others.  In this episode, Shayle explores CDR with Ryan Orbuch, a partner at Lowercarbon Capital who leads the firm’s carbon-removal work. Ryan helped to start Stripe’s carbon removal procurement program and has been involved in Stripe's nearly $1 billion Frontier Fund.  Shayle and Ryan cover key questions around CDR, like: What are the important characteristics of a carbon-removal technology? What roles do permanence and additionality play? Will investments in removal come at the expense of reducing emissions? Will CDR become a commodity market? Shayle also shares his experience with the first wave of carbon offsets, and the challenges that undermined those efforts. Ryan talks about separating out the cost of measurement and verification from the costs of removal, as well as why we should be thinking about radiative forcing more holistically, and not just carbon removal alone. Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.
May 05, 2022
Hydrogen, meet salt cavern
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A massive green hydrogen project in Utah has won a $504.4 million conditional loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office. The project, called Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES), will generate hydrogen from renewables and store it deep underground in what’s called a salt dome. ACES will use that stored hydrogen to generate electricity in a hybrid power plant, running on both natural gas and hydrogen. ACES is one of the many planned hydrogen hubs in the U.S., and once completed it would be one of the largest in the country. The loan will finance an initial 220 megawatts of hydrogen production and 300 gigawatt hours of storage. What did it take to put this deal together, and what does it say about the future of hydrogen hubs more broadly? In this episode, Shayle talks to Jigar Shah, director of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) about the project. The LPO is the government agency behind the conditional loan guarantee. Shayle and Jigar talk about what made this particular project attractive to the LPO. They talk about why the salt dome storage was essential to making the project work, and the other uses for hydrogen beyond power, such as a feedstock for ammonia production and other heavy industries. They also break down the difficulties in transporting hydrogen and the need to site hydrogen production near consumption. Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.
Apr 28, 2022
The great rush for battery metals
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The metals used to make batteries are in hot demand. In 2021, the price of one form of lithium skyrocketed by over 400%. Automakers are racing to lock up supply deals for key minerals as they roll out new electric-vehicle models. And the market value of companies with mining assets, or new technologies to unlock them, has skyrocketed. What’s behind this scramble for metals and what does it mean for the energy transition?  In this episode, Shayle talks to Kurt House, chief executive officer and co-founder of KoBold Metals. Kobold uses artificial intelligence to discover and characterize new sources of key battery metals.  Kurt and Shayle survey five key materials of the energy transition — lithium, nickel, copper, cobalt and rare earth metals. They compare the roles of each one in different types of batteries and discuss how the changing battery cell chemistries are shaping metal markets. Kurt explains the different factors shaping supply, including recycling, new mineral discoveries and shifting geopolitics. We want to hear from you! Take our quick survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This will help us bring you more relevant content. Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join.
Apr 21, 2022
Alternative protein: it’s what’s for dinner
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Support strong climate journalism! Donate to Canary Media to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Conventional livestock agriculture, especially beef production, is a huge climate problem. It makes up 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  But there’s good news: alternative proteins are hot. Brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat rely on alternative proteins to replicate the taste and texture of conventional meat and dairy – but with drastically less carbon pollution. Alternative proteins are starting to show up in fast food, fine dining and grocery stores. They’re garnering big-time investment, and they have the potential to shake up the conventional livestock industry.  But the term alternative proteins includes a smorgasbord of technologies. What are they and how do they work? And where do we need research and development? In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Liz Specht, vice president of science and technology at the Good Food Institute. Liz explains the three main pillars of alternative protein technology – plant-based proteins, microbial fermentation and cultivated (or lab-grown) meat. Shayle and Liz discuss the technical bottlenecks to production, like addressing the global shortage of bioreactors, developing new crops and deriving new cell lines. And they talk about designing alternative proteins that are tastier and healthier than their conventional counterparts. Plus, Liz recommends her favorite alternative meat to try this weekend.  Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join. Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. We want to hear from you! Take our quick survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This will help us bring you more relevant content.
Apr 14, 2022
Carbon capture and storage is making a comeback
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Support strong climate journalism! Donate to Canary Media to celebrate its one-year anniversary. After a string of relatively high profile failures and cost overruns, point source carbon capture and storage (CCS) – that is, capturing carbon dioxide directly from flue stacks at industrial and power generation facilities – fell into disrepute. Many projects were shelved. And yet, in just the first nine months of 2021 the global capacity of planned CCS projects grew 50% to 111 million tons, which would triple the current operating capacity in the world. So why the recovery? And what might happen this time? In this episode Shayle talks to Chris Bataille, a researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, a professor at Simon Fraser University and a lead author on the industry chapter of the IPCC report that just came out this week.  Chris and Shayle talk about the state of CCS technology, the reasons for past failures, and the applications where it could work, namely chemicals, cement and certain power plants. They examine the bottlenecks in deep saline aquifers and the capacity of these aquifers to absorb carbon dioxide. They also discuss the role of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), which could both improve the economics of CCS and displace more carbon-intensive fossil fuel extraction.  And: Will CCS lead to unnecessary emissions? They discuss upstream methane leakage and whether CCS enables polluters.  Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee.net/join. Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arcadia.com/catalyst. We want to hear from you! Take our quick survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This will help us bring you more relevant content.
Apr 07, 2022
Can Europe quit Russian fossil fuel by next winter?
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Europe imports about 45% of its natural gas from Russia. As the conflict in Ukraine escalates, pressure is mounting for Europe to wean itself off Russian energy as quickly as possible. European sanctions against Russia have excluded the energy trade, meaning that European purchases of oil and gas – which fund about 40% of Russia’s federal budget – are in effect funding the Russian war effort in Ukraine. So how could Europe eliminate the import of Russian fossil fuels? In this episode Shayle talks to Princeton energy professor Jesse Jenkins about how to do it. The EU’s current plan is to cut its import of Russian gas by two thirds by the end of the year. Jesse’s energy modeling team is working on a plan to cut 100% of Russian energy imports by October 1. Shayle and Jesse explore the immediate impact of the war in Ukraine on energy markets and the ripple effects on other markets like fertilizer, food and carbon markets.  Then they discuss the tools Europe and its allies have at their disposal in the short term, such as switching from gas to coal, ramping up heat pump installations and extending the operation of nuclear plants. They also examine a possible path for the US – decreasing domestic use of fossil fuels while increasing exports of coal and liquid natural gas to Europe.  Finally: How could this rapid shift in Europe accelerate the energy transition in the long term? We want to hear from you! Take our quick survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This will help us bring you more relevant content. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.
Mar 31, 2022
Will this carbon market boom be different?
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Carbon markets of all types – avoidance, removal, voluntary, compliance – are hot. Startups are sprouting up, looking to develop, broker and verify new kinds of credits. More than a decade ago there was a similar flurry of excitement around offsets, followed by a big crash in carbon markets. Experts blamed the Great Recession, but also a lack of trust and transparency in the offsets themselves. Will this time be different?  In this episode, Shayle talks about what’s changed with Nat Bullard, chief content officer at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. They review the persistent oversupply and trust issues in voluntary markets, and then examine the tech stack that could address them, such as web3, blockchain and regenerative finance, or ReFi. They also take a look at the new focus on removal, which is easier to verify and track than avoidance.  Also in the episode: What could carbon market prices look like in 2050? Will large financial institutions or new regulations spur companies to adopt transparent carbon accounting practices?  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.
Mar 24, 2022
When will batteries take over the world?
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In the 90s batteries powered your camcorder and boombox. Then your phone. Now they’re running your electric vehicle (EV), and in some cases, even your house.  At what scale will batteries meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions? We may be nearing an inflection point with electric vehicle batteries, but we’re nowhere near as close with grid storage technologies. What’s it going to take to get there?   Guest host Lara Pierpoint explores this question with battery expert – David Schroeder, chief technology officer of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm focused on storage. They talk about David’s two least favorite phrases in the battery world: “range anxiety” and “long duration.” They also survey different applications for storage and whether there’s a holy grail technology that can satisfy that variety of demands. .  Then, they zoom in on lithium-ion technology, the workhorse of EVs and storage. They cover safety, recalls, supply chains, and why lithium ion is so expensive for grid applications. But David explains why he’s optimistic that declining lithium-ion costs will fall even further. They also discuss recycling, flow batteries, thermal storage, and mechanical storage by lifting and lowering heavy blocks of concrete. Oh, and nuclear watches. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.
Mar 17, 2022
What the grid can learn from the internet
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For nearly two decades, the terms "smart grid" and "grid edge" have been used to define the digital layer of the electricity system that can help integrate more rooftop solar panels, EVs, smart meters, and home batteries to avoid outages and save customers money. But even with massive increases in computing power, utilities are still lagging in technology to communicate with DERs (also known as grid-edge assets) and the computing power to crunch all that data. In this episode, what can the grid learn from the internet? Guest host Lara Pierpoints talks to a person deep in both worlds. Astrid Atkinson is a former senior Google engineer who specialized in distributed networks. She’s now founder and CEO at the grid software company Camus. Lara and Astrid examine where the grid still needs a digital upgrade. They also discuss concerns about giving utilities access to the technology to communicate with DERs and control over consumers’ devices. Plus, Astrid and Lara also cover FERC Order 2222, the incentives that allow DERs to play in electricity markets, and the under-appreciated role of electricity co-ops in testing out new grid-edge technologies.  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antenna​group​.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.
Mar 11, 2022
Unlocking hyper-efficient cooling
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It may not get the same attention as higher-profile sectors, but cooling accounts for 4% of global greenhouse gasses emissions. That's more than even aviation or shipping. Demand for cooling is expected to triple by 2050. In places where global warming is triggering intense heat waves, cooling has become a matter of life and death.  And yet, cleaner, more-efficient air conditioning technology exists. Why aren’t we using it? And how do we make it affordable and widely available? In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks with Jessy Rivest, vice president and general manager of the Cleantech program at Xerox PARC, where she develops and commercializes new cooling technologies. Lara and Jessy examine the two key technologies inside an air conditioner. The first is the cooling itself, a sophisticated process involving refrigerants. The second is humidity control, an energy-intensive process that Jessy thinks is ripe for an upgrade. Jessy also talks about the challenges of higher upfront costs associated with more efficient cooling options, and how incentives like the Global Cooling Prize are addressing them. She points out market opportunities like cooling-as-a-service and rebates from utilities to help avoid grid blackouts. And they dig into refrigerants, new types of dessicants, heat pumps and even ice.  Lara and Jessy also discuss ventilation and air quality technologies that intersect with health, a key consideration during the pandemic and wildfire season. And Lara talks about turtles and sartorial approaches to manage that enduring office debate: How cold should it be in the building? Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.
Mar 03, 2022
Will advanced reactors solve nuclear's problems?
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Traditional nuclear power is bogged down by cost overruns and concerns about safety and waste. But does it have to be that way? Could we deploy scaleable reactors that are cheaper, safer, and that produce less waste? Advanced nuclear startups in the U.S. certainly think so.  In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint speaks with Jake DeWitte, co-founder and CEO of Oklo, one of many advanced nuclear companies that have emerged in recent years. Lara and Jake survey the polarized landscape of nuclear development, with many countries shutting down plants and others planning to open new ones. They discuss the main problems with traditional nuclear, and examine some new ways companies are attempting to solve them.  They focus on the technologies that Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and microreactors could use, including liquid metal, liquid salt, and gas-cooled options, as well as fast reactors. They also talk about nuclear waste recycling, safer self-cooling designs, and nuclear direct heating. Lara asks: Can advanced nuclear reactors scale in time to make a dent in global emissions? Jake says, in the medium term, yes. To get there, he says we need to build reactors like we build cars, planes, and wind turbines: by simplifying designs, pre-fabricating modules and taking advantage of existing supply chains. This modular approach could open up new business models, like nuclear as a service, and new financing options, like the power purchase agreements common in renewable energy.  But how will regulators respond? Just recently the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected Oklo’s application to build and operate the company’s Aurora compact fast reactor in Idaho. Lara and Jake break down the decision and what it means for the future of advanced nuclear in the US.  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Feb 25, 2022
A critical tool for scaling climate tech: insurance
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We buy insurance for everything – our cars, our houses, our health. But climate tech insurance? That’s a new one.   When Jeff McAulay was working in solar, he discovered one major roadblock to scaling up climate tech. Solar developers didn’t have the right kind of insurance to cover their risks. So Jeff co-founded Energetic Insurance.   Turns out, insurance solves problems beyond solar. Jeff says there are unaddressed risks associated with many new climate technologies that can prevent developers from accessing affordable capital. In essence, Jeff sees insurance as part of the larger capital stack, alongside better-understood tools like venture capital and debt. In this episode, guest co-host Lara Pierpoint speaks with Jeff about applications in heat pumps, fuel cells, geothermal, advanced nuclear and more. They also discuss the limits of private insurance, and the role governments can play in addressing uncertainty, technological complexity and regulatory hurdles.  They also cover moral hazard and how insurance companies could change the market. Will insurance companies continue to offer catastrophic insurance in wildfire-prone areas, or coastal areas prone to hurricanes? Will they continue to insure coal mines and coal-fired power plants? And Lara asks: Will insurance companies be able to adapt their models to the changing risks of climate change? Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Feb 17, 2022
The Carbon Copy: The lithium land grab in California
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This week, we're featuring an episode of The Carbon Copy. Batteries are everywhere. In our electronics, our power tools, our electric grid, and in our cars. And almost all those batteries use a lithium-ion chemistry. The Imperial Valley in southern California is home to the Salton Sea, a land-locked body of water that contains vast reserves of lithium. California Governor Gavin Newsom called the region the "Saudi Arabia of Lithium." If mined, it could completely reshape the global supply chain. This week on The Carbon Copy: California has ambitious plans to fuel the global EV boom with the Salton Sea’s lithium. But will the people who need it most get left behind? Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Feb 10, 2022
The future of the home solar market
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There’s momentum building for electrification. But when will electrification take off as a mainstream movement? And what companies can provide electrification solutions to consumers at scale? One strong candidate is Sunrun. It’s the leading residential solar company in the U.S., after SolarCity years ago, and acquiring its next-biggest competitor Vivint solar more recently. Sunrun has also become a major player in residential batteries. And it started to push its way into the residential EV charging game via a partnership with Ford around the electric F-150. Mary Powell recently became CEO of Sunrun, after taking over from co-founder and previous CEO Lynn Jurich last year. Shayle talked to Mary about what Sunrun is today – and what it might be in the future. They talk about what it will take to lower consumer acquisition costs, overcome the inertia of policy and utilities, and compare the emotional and economic drivers behind residential solar installations.  Plus: the opportunities for vehicle-to-home charging and how NREL’s SolarAPP could speed up residential solar permitting and installation process. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Jan 31, 2022
The many pathways to decarbonizing chemicals
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Chemicals might be the most daunting industrial sector to decarbonize. Unlike concrete and steel, where the end products are largely uniform, refineries spit out thousands of different chemicals through a dizzyingly complex set of processes. These end products are, in turn, used in everything from plastics to fertilizers to pharmaceuticals to clothing.  The International Energy Agency predicts that chemicals will be the largest source of demand growth for oil through 2050.  A wide range of approaches could transform the sector. To talk through them, Shayle turned to industrial emissions guru Rebecca Dell, the Program Director for Industry at Climateworks Foundation.  She breaks down this mysterious sector. Where chemicals are we talking about? Where are they made? And where do the associated emissions come from?  Shayle and Rebecca also talk about the feedstock problem: Decarbonizing heat and electricity in the industry is a hard but straightforward challenge. But how do we replace the versatile fossil fuels used as feedstocks? Plus, Rebecca has a bone to pick with anyone who thinks we should store captured carbon in plastics.  Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Jan 24, 2022
Microbes, meat and materials: biotech meets climatetech
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Biotech has enormous potential across a wide array of climate solutions. It can be used to create alternative proteins, remove carbon from the atmosphere, clean up fertilizer, or to create renewable fuels. But it also comes with some scaling challenges.  This week, Shayle talks about the intersection of biotech and climatetech with Arye Lipman. Arye is a biologist and a general partner at MarsBio, a bio-focused early-stage fund. He also writes a Substack newsletter on biotech called The Last Great Mystery. Arye and Shayle talk about the dream of synthetic biology: to use biology like a software platform and program cells to make whatever you want. Arye is cautious on this front, and points out the areas where biotech is limited. They also cover lab-grown meat, building materials, microbes to fix nitrogen in the soil, genetically engineering plants to sequester more carbon, and Shayle’s fungal biomass chaise lounge. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world – with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.
Jan 18, 2022
Inside the Energy Department's loan deal to back hydrogen
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First-of-a-kind projects are, by definition, unproven. Despite the abundance of capital in climate tech these days, the valley of death for new technologies still exists. But there are solutions. And this week on Catalyst, we have a case study of one of them.  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office has $40 billion of capacity to help solve this exact kind of problem. It just announced its first conditional commitment for a $1 billion loan guarantee to help Monolith scale up its first megaplant in Nebraska.  Monolith uses methane pyrolysis – heating methane up to high temperatures – to split the gas into hydrogen and carbon black, which is an essential component of tires, plastics, rubber and other materials. It’s a key indication of where the department is putting its priorities.  We brought both sides of the negotiating table on the podcast: Rob Hanson, the CEO and co-founder of Monolith; and Jigar Shah, the Director of the Loan Programs Office.  Jigar shares what he’s heard from lenders about why loan guarantees are important, and why commercial banks are reluctant to place bets on these first-of-a-kind plants. He also addresses misconceptions about the office’s role in the climate tech ecosystem. Rob dives into Monolith's decade-long process to reach this milestone, and points out key differences between venture capital and infrastructure capital. He also talks about what Monolith’s second- or third-of-a-kind climate tech plant could look like. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.
Jan 10, 2022
Is nuclear fusion getting close?
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The common trope about fusion is that it has always been – and will always be – a decade away. So is something different happening now? Recently, we’ve seen technical achievements in fusion, like near ignition at the National Ignition Facility in August, yielding “a record 1.3 MJ in fusion energy, releasing, for the first time, more energy than the fuel capsule absorbed.” Fusion startups have also enjoyed a recent barrage of mega-funding. First, General Fusion raised $130 million. Then Helion Energy raised $500 million with another $1.8 billion committed based on whether it hits milestones. And then Commonwealth Fusion Systems closed a $1.8 billion venture round. (Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner, has also invested in Zap Energy). So what's happening here? To find out, Shayle talks to Dr. Scott Hsu, ARPA-E’s program director for fusion R&D.  Shayle asks: what role will fusion actually play in the future of our energy supply?  Scott and Shayle cover technical advancements that have enabled rapid improvements in the size and cost of fusion systems. They also discuss key milestones, scaling to cost-competitiveness, and technical pathways. They also examine the economics and physics that will determine how rampable a fusion system might be and targets for the cost of a megawatt hour.  They also discuss the tritium-breeding blanket Shayle is getting for Christmas. Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Dec 23, 2021
Quantum computing could be a critical climate solution
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What exactly counts as “climate tech”? Basically all human activity is responsible for emissions, directly or indirectly. So nearly every new technology trend or capability has at least some role to play in curbing those emissions. Robotics? Sure. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, of course. Synthetic biology? Definitely.  But here's a really interesting one: quantum computing.  Mark Cupta is convinced it may actually be one of the most important technologies we'll invent to mitigate climate change. Mark is a partner at Prelude Ventures, a climate-focused venture capital firm, and he’s made multiple investments in quantum-computing companies.  Shayle and Mark talk about how it might unlock climate-tech breakthroughs that would otherwise take decades of brute-force PhD power. They talk about applications for new materials, battery and fuel chemistries, and synthetic biology. It could also help to solve optimization problems to improve the efficiency of logistics and operations.  Although quantum computing may not itself reduce carbon emissions in a huge way, it could essentially enable other critical technologies that we need to fight climate change.  Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Dec 16, 2021
The future of natural gas
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There are many pathways to decarbonize natural gas. Do we replace it, full stop? If so, with what? Or do we blend natural gas with alternatives, or rip up the old infrastructure and replace it with something new?  There's a lot to unpack here. But also a lot of opportunities for innovators in the climatetech world. To dig into it, Shayle turns to Andy Lubershane, the senior vice president for research & strategy at Energy Impact Partners. Andy and Shayle talk about natural gas’ existential threat: upstream methane emissions.  And remember the utility death spiral? Andy argues that, if solar and DERs continue on their current rise, natural gas infrastructure might actually face a death spiral itself. They talk about capturing methane emissions, replacing gas with hydrogen, recovering solid carbon, and renewable natural gas. And where might natural gas stay strong? Andy says to keep an eye on distribution-level building heat.  Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Dec 09, 2021
A bumpy ride toward decarbonizing aviation
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Aviation represents 2-3% of global GHG emissions. If the aviation sector were a country, its emissions would rank around 6th in the world, somewhere between Japan and Germany. If you add the additional warming impacts of aircraft contrails and estimates are that aviation contributes something like 3.5% of total anthropogenic warming. It's also another one of those notoriously tough-to-abate sectors. Jet fuel (a.k.a. kerosene) is pretty magical. It has enabled the movement of people and the globalization of high-value goods.  Sustainable aviation fuels, hydrogen, electrification, and electrofuels are all possible solutions -- but they all carry their own challenges. Dan Rutherford knows those challenges well. He's the Director of the aviation and maritime programs at the International Council on Clean Transportation.  In this episode, Shayle talks to Dan about the pros and cons of these various tech pathways. They look at how these technologies could play out in the tight economics of airlines and who will bear those costs. They also examine the pressures on the industry to decarbonize, including consumer interest enabled by emerging low-carbon-travel search features. Finally, they peer into the future at the next generation of planes. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Dec 02, 2021
Kickstarting a $1 trillion market for carbon removal
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Stripe, a fintech startup worth $100 billion, is trying to kick-start a $1 trillion market for carbon removal. The company is being extremely transparent about its processes, which means we get a window into the exciting, messy, often very experimental world of removing gigatons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. Traditionally, carbon removal has involved planting lots of trees. There have also been a select few companies toiling away at expensive-but-promising direct-air capture. But it turns out there are many ways to remove CO2. The earth already has a massive carbon cycle — plants, rocks, oceans and soil are already part of it. So there are many candidates for tapping electrochemistry and synthetic biology to accelerate natural processes. It’s still a small market — and one that needs to grow massively over the coming decades. So how do we build it? Shayle addresses that question with Nan Ransohoff, Stripe’s head of climate. Shayle and Nan break down lessons from Stripe’s first two carbon-removal portfolios. They discuss whether carbon removal will become a commodity market. They also cover learning curves, the sources of demand and the parallels between carbon removal and vaccine development. And Shayle asks: What does a winner look like? Will a single technology dominate? Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Nov 18, 2021
Can 'deeptech' venture capital solve climate change?
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Can investors win by betting on early-stage innovations in hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as energy, transportation, agriculture and heavy industry?  The answer doesn’t matter only to venture capitalists. If you believe that we need fundamental science and engineering innovation to climb our way out of the climate crisis, it's an important question. Plenty of reasonable observers say the answer is no. Case in point: The 2016 MIT report Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation by Ben Gaddy and Varun Sivaram. But things have changed since “Cleantech 1.0,” the first wave of investment in the sector that resulted in a lot of bankruptcies -- but also some big hits like Tesla, Sunrun, and Nest. Capital is flowing back into the sector at stunning rates, as venture investors all turn their attention to climatetech. So do the arguments against deeptech climate venture capital hold up today? To explore this question, Shayle turns to Ramez Naam, another veteran of Cleantech 1.0. Ramez and Shayle go point by point, covering questions such as: Does climatetech take too much capital to scale? Is the time to commercialization too long? Is the exit landscape still relatively unattractive? Will this new climatetech boom lead to another bust? Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is supported by Atmos Financial. Atmos offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts that only invest in climate-positive assets like renewables, green construction, and regenerative agriculture. Modern banking for climate-conscious people. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Nov 11, 2021
Introducing: Catalyst w/ Shayle Kann
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Shayle Kann has been thinking about the technology and market fixes for climate change for almost two decades. On Catalyst, he brings on the smartest people in climate tech to think through those hard problems. This show is about how we overcome the climate challenge. Not just at a theoretical level, but using actual technologies, tackling actual market structures, and accounting for the biggest variable of them all -- money. Subscribe everywhere. The show is a co-production of Canary Media and Post Script Media.
Nov 02, 2021