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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up December 3, 2021

Lux Research
December 3, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the past week below. 

Energy storage suppliers in Australia dodge bullet of paying network charges, for now

Michael Sullivan, Analyst, Lux Research

Michael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) deferred a rule change that would require grid-scale energy storage to pay charges for transmission and use of the national system. These charges would add significant costs to the storage business model, reducing its attractiveness. The AEMC is considering the change to level the playing field for network operators and other energy providers. The AEMC left the issue unresolved in a much-anticipated December 2, 2021, rules change, punting the decision into the next fiscal year. Companies should be prepared for the inevitable regulation changes that support recovery of network costs in this and other regions.

Step aside Higg Index, there's a new player in town: The Global Fibre Impact Explorer

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Tiffany Hua, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important


"The Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE) is a new cloud-based environmental data platform developed by Google and the World Wildlife Fund that evaluates the environmental risk and impact of textile fiber sourcing. This tool directly rivals and closely resembles the Higg Index, which has found itself on the receiving end of criticism for missing factors like microplastic accumulation, despite working to improve its tool. As for the GFIE, the tool is not yet accessible but is undergoing testing; brands like Adidas, Allbirds, H&M Group, and VF Corporation are helping refine the platform. Key players in the apparel industry should closely monitor the release of the tool in 2022 where it will be transitioned to the hands of the Textile Exchange.

BP will launch a 60-MW green hydrogen facility in the U.K.

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"BP plans to launch a green hydrogen facility in Teeside, U.K., in 2025, pending a final investment decision due in 2023. Additionally, the company aims to expand the facility to an eventual 500-MW capacity by 2030. The company previously announced plans for a 1-GW blue hydrogen project, also in Teeside. With these projects and additional partnerships in the hydrogen value chain, BP is fast emerging as a leading energy company in the hydrogen economy. Such large-scale projects will help kickstart the adoption of hydrogen in new sectors, such as mobility, and move other industries away from fossil fuels."

Agrifood Newsletter

EU invests €1.1 billion into seven large-scale projects to decarbonize hard-to-abate industry and energy sectors

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The grants from the Innovation Fund will support hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), and renewable-energy projects. Specifically, the projects involve hydrogen-based direct reduced iron in Sweden, green and blue hydrogen in Finland, CCUS from a cement plant in France, CCS from chemicals production in Belgium, high-performance photovoltaic cells in Italy, solid waste to methanol in Spain, and biomass heat and power with CCS in Sweden. Governments are ramping up investments in decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, which will shorten commercialization timelines of the relevant technologies. Companies interested in launching low-carbon demonstration projects are encouraged to explore government funding opportunities."

TenneT to trial blockchain transactions combined with agent-based battery management to simplify energy availability

Christopher Robinson, Research Director, Lux Research

Christopher Robinson, Research Director
Lux Take: Very Important


"Previously, Johnson Matthey (JM) had pursued commercialization of lithium-nickel oxide cathodes, investing roughly $200 million in research and development to date. In an abrupt move, JM announced it would exit the battery business, citing two key reasons. First and foremost, being competitive with other cathode manufacturers required a significant scale of investment, but the increasing commoditization of cathodes meant returns on this significant investment would be minimal. In Europe specifically, acquiring JM's assets should be a high consideration, as the EU is incentivizing building a local battery supply chain; however, recognize the price for cathodes will be closely tied to nickel prices."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Walmart and Zipline test autonomous aircraft deliveries in Arkansas

Anirudh Bhoopalam, Analyst, Lux Research

Anirudh Bhoopalam, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Walmart and Zipline are testing autonomous aircraft delivery of certain health and consumable products. Customers within a 50-mile radius of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, can avail themselves of this service. Walmart hopes to reach remote and at-risk groups more quickly and plans to expand nationwide. Upon receiving an order, Walmart packs the products and hands them to Zipline, which prepares and launches the aircraft. Walmart's intent to offer customers aerial deliveries (as shown by other partnerships) coupled with Zipline's experience suggest that this could be the start of a fruitful service. However, it is unclear whether the companies have the proper certification to operate drones beyond the line of sight."

Generative design platform nTopology raises $65 million in Series D funding

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Although established players have launched generative design software, nTopology's implicit modeling approach is technologically well-differentiated. Moreover, recently added features such as fixture generator for fused deposition methods, product life management integration, and graphics processing unit acceleration has lowered 3D printing adoption barriers. With increasing focus on lightweighting and optimal material use, 3D printing will continue to boost the growth of generative design. Given the current consolidation in the 3D printing landscape, it won't be surprising if nTopology decides to go public or is acquired by an established 3D printing company."

Nikola expected to pay $125 million penalty to SEC

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate, Lux Research

Shishir Jairam, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Nikola will pay a $125 million fine over the next two years to the SEC to resolve the investigation of fraud allegations against the company's departed founder, which included mismanagement, fraud, and distorted marketing practices. Nikola also made false claims of its technology and market readiness, which were also indicated by Lux through an analyst insight. Despite the company receiving $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to help develop autonomous hydrogen fueling technologies, it has consistently failed to deliver on its promises, including the delivery of electric trucks. Although Nikola plans to deliver 25 battery-powered Tre semi-trucks by end of 2021, key players should be cautious about its announcements."

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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