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A green hydrogen plant is planned for Southern California



A green hydrogen plant is planned for Southern California

An energy company with big ambitions to produce clean fuels in the future announced Tuesday’s agreement with Lancaster officials to make hydrogen using plasma heating technology – originally developed for NASA – to destroy the city’s recycled paper at temperatures as high as 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Solena Group process has no commercial track record, and the company has not received funding to build a $ 55 million facility in Lancaster, in northern Los Angeles County. Solena is one of many companies looking for ways to produce cheap hydrogen without producing gas that warms the planet in the hope that clean fuels will one day replace oil and gas for transportation or heating.

But the company’s process, which uses what is called a plasma torch, is attracting the attention of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.

The city will speed up Solena’s licensing process and send her recycled paper company, rather than paying to dispose of it in a landfill. Several cities in the US have sent recycled waste to landfills since China stopped accepting exported waste in 2018.

If the hydrogen plant doesn’t materialize or fails, Parris said in an interview, there is little harm to the city.

The good side is pioneering technology that can dramatically reduce emissions. Lancaster will have a small stake in the factory.

“If we continue to produce energy as before, we will not be here in 50 years,” Parris said, referring to the effects of climate change. “I am pleased to see how well it works, and how quickly we can develop this through the country.”

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As a tenacious Republican, Parris has made climate change his main problem. He helped make Lancaster the first city in Southern California to dispose of privately owned and electric utilities Buy clean power for residents. He also convinced BYD Chinese car makers to build an electric bus factory in Lancaster.

As a trial lawyer, he represented thousands of people sue Southern California Gas Co. for alleged health effects of the 2015 methane explosion at the company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility.

“Most of what we do is the first time it’s done,” Parris said.

Mayor Lancaster R. Rex Parris was re-elected in April 2020, securing a fifth term.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Solena Group’s chief executive, Robert Do, has been honing his technology from fuel to fuel for decades.

Do co-founded the company in the 1980s with Salvador Camacho, a former NASA engineer who helped the space agency develop a plasma heating technique that can produce temperatures high enough to simulate re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. This technology is very important to test the heat shield that will protect the first Americans in space when they return to Earth.

A 1994 NASA publication described plasma heating as “passing a strong electric current through a gas that is purified to make plasma – ionized gas – which produces extremely hot fires.” Camacho started a spin-off company that made use of this technology in 1971.

“This is a pretty good industrial tool,” Do said in an interview.

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The Solena Group will use some of the gases produced – mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide – to ignite plasma torches.

The company has tried and failed to build commercial facilities before. In 2015, for example, a joint venture between Solena and British Airways to produce jet fuel at a facility in London fell apart after oil prices fell, underestimate project economics.

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Do hopes that California policies that require cleaner energy will create an atmosphere where technology can develop.

“Our technology can only keep up with market demand,” he said.

There is a large demand for hydrogen in industrial processes such as petroleum refining and fertilizer production.

Fuel burns cleanly, but is usually produced from coal or natural gas, in a process that emits carbon dioxide that warms the planet. A small portion of the global supply is produced through electrolysis, which involves splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

As solar and wind power are getting cheaper, experts are increasingly optimistic about the potential to produce hydrogen through electrolysis powered by renewable energy. In theory, it could make hydrogen an abundant and climate-friendly fuel.

In addition to cleaning up industry and transportation, “green hydrogen” can replace some of the fossil natural gas used by homes and businesses for heating and cooking, possibly heralded by Southern California Gas Co. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy, meanwhile, said last year that it would try to build the world’s first power plant fueled by hydrogen.

Intermountain Power Plant

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy plans to destroy the fired Intermountain Power Plant with coal outside Delta, Utah, and replace the facility with a natural gas combustion facility which will eventually be triggered by renewable hydrogen.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Green hydrogen is still too expensive to make a lot of global demand. But costs are moving in the right direction.

BloombergNEF consulting company released a report in March found that with public policies that support, renewable hydrogen can meet 24% of world energy demand by 2050, and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industry by one third.

The analysis does not consider the type of process proposed by the Solena Group, known as “plasma gasification.”

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Although this concept is unheard of at all, it has not yet been proven commercially, some hydrogen experts told The Times.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a federal research institute, study gasification as part of a latest report. They found that producing hydrogen through gasification of organic waste – basically applying heat and pressure to the waste to gas – could be one of the cheaper strategies to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

How does it work? The key is to understand that organic waste – like paper goods – can be decomposed in landfills, where it will emit methane, a gas that traps heat. Diverting the waste from landfill, and turning it into hydrogen, will avoid some of the emissions. And hydrogen will also replace dirtier fuels, like diesel in heavy duty trucks.

“There are hydrogen prices that are starting to be economical,” said Sarah Baker, a chemist at Lawrence Livermore and lead author of the report.

Baker and his colleagues only considered conventional heating methods, not high temperature plasma torches.

But the Solena Group targets the same goal: Low-cost hydrogen with minimal carbon emissions and overall planetary benefits.

The company hopes to sell hydrogen to fueling station operators for hydrogen powered vehicles, a small but growing market.

“For something like passenger vehicles, we already have an increasingly inexpensive, low-carbon alternative in electric vehicles,” said Ben Gallagher, an expert in technology that emerged at Wood Mackenzie’s consulting firm. “For heavy vehicles like trucks or road sweepers or garbage trucks or buses, this is a potential road for hydrogen, because batteries will be very heavy.”

BYD electric bus

Although some clean buses are powered by hydrogen, others are electricity. In this photo, James Holtz, fleet sales manager for BYD Motors Inc., shows several battery packs used to power electric buses built at the company’s facilities in Lancaster, California.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Solena Group still has a lot to prove. The company has partnered with Fluor Corp, a multinational engineering and construction company, to build its factory in Lancaster, which is expected to be permitted early next year and produce hydrogen by the end of 2022.

If the company can produce hydrogen at the low price point it claims – reliable enough to attract investors, and without producing dangerous byproducts – that would be a big problem, said Jeffrey Reed, a renewable fuel expert at the University of California, Irvine.

“Gasification has the potential to be quite effective in producing hydrogen,” he said.

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Domestic consumption rises and supports Portugal’s GDP growth



Domestic consumption rises and supports Portugal's GDP growth

Despite inflation, private household consumption increased between July and September this year. This increase allowed the Portuguese economy to continue growing in the third quarter. The growth was 4.9% compared to the same period last year.

The past few months have confirmed a trend towards sharp inflation and rising costs such as mortgage payments for those with mortgages. Difficulties that are currently forcing families to consume less than a year ago. But, compared to the second quarter of 2022, from July to September this year, private consumption increased by 1.1%. Domestic demand supported the slight growth of the Portuguese economy recorded in the third quarter.

Even with the fall in exports and investment, GDP grew by 0.4% compared to the previous quarter and by 4.9% compared to the same period last year. The numbers that need to be produced to ensure that 2022 ends with a booming economy, even during a downturn and international uncertainty.

This instability still does not affect the unemployment rate, which remained at 6.1% in October. Compared to September, the number of unemployed has decreased by 2,000. The active population has also declined and there are still 285,000 people who are not considered unemployed but are out of the labor market or only work a few hours a week.

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5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites



5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites

In October, the number of overnight stays in 5-star hotels increased by 15.9% compared to the same month in 2019, which, according to additional information, namely from the DMC (Tourist Inception Agency), is associated with a strong increase in tourism from the United States. states.

Information published today by INE indicates that in October, compared to the same month before the pandemic, the number of overnight stays in tourist establishments in Portugal increased by 6.2%, with the strongest increase in hotels, at 8.2%. in which, therefore, 62.1% is concentrated. overnight stays.

The information shows that 4-star hotels, where the largest number of beds are concentrated, had 48.9% of overnight stays in October, totaling 2.05 million, which is +7.6% or more than 144.7 thousand than in October 2019.

This was followed by 3-star hotels with 927.3k, but this increase was about half of 5-star hotels, by 7.6% or 65.5k, to 927.3k, and then 5-star hotels with 857. 4 thousand overnight stays, an increase of 15.9%. or 117.6 thousand compared to the same pre-pandemic month.

In contrast to the evolution in these categories, there were 2- and 1-star hotels, in which the number of overnight stays decreased by 2.7%, or ten thousand, to 360.8 thousand.

The cheapest apart-hotels (three and two stars) also saw a decrease in overnight stays, from -20.9% or less than 24.4 thousand, in hotels and farms in Madeira, from -0.4% or less, to about 300, and in tourist settlements, from -7.7. % or less than 17.5 thousand.

At the same time, the number of apart-hotels increased by 1.2%, or 8.5 thousand, to 717.5 million, due to the increase in 5-star hotels by 6.7%, or 6.6 thousand, to 104.9 thousand, and 4-star, by 5.4 thousand% or 26.4 thousand to 519.9 thousand.

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Overnight stays in tourist apartments also increased by 3.2%, or 13.6 thousand, to 437.8 million, local accommodation, by 0.6%, or 5.5 thousand, to 901.2 thousand, and , primarily tourism in rural areas and housing, with an increase of 45.2% or 67.3 thousand to 216.5 thousand people.

The INE data also shows that Portuguese tourist sites were the best in October in terms of overnight stays this year, with peaks achieved by 5-, 4- and 3-star hotels, 5- and 4-star apartment hotels, accommodation . and rural tourism and housing development.

See also:

The US market is already setting new annual records in Portuguese hotels

The Portuguese hospitality industry experienced the best October in terms of number of guests and overnight stays.

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Government approves strategy to combat “Portuguese underrepresentation” in Brussels



Government approves strategy to combat "Portuguese underrepresentation" in Brussels

This afternoon the Council of Ministers will approve a national strategy to combat what it considers “underrepresentation de Portugal” in European institutions, in particular the European Commission.

“There is a significant shortage of Portuguese, especially those working for the Commission,” explains the Secretary of State for European Affairs in statements to Renaissance🇧🇷 The problem, according to Thiago Antunes, is not limited to middle management: “This is the first time Portugal does not have a CEO in the European Commission”.

The government wants to “correct this imbalance and fight this deficit in order to win.”ability to influence in decisions.” But it is not possible to increase the number of vacancies for the Portuguese, if only because there are no national quotas for employees working in institutions.

To go to Brussels or even work in Portugal on a full-time basis, you need to pass a series of tests prepared by EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office). 🇧🇷These are very difficult competitions.with very concrete evidence,” the official explains.

The strategy will be based on several pillars: training, increasing grants and encouraging the mobility of civil servants. The Portuguese government is going to create a national training center to “better prepare our candidates for competitions”; to bet on “dissemination of opportunities; increase the balls (by quantity and value); and create a statute that allows those who work in the public administration of Portugal to move into the European public administration.

The aim is to achieve “greater representation” in the European Commission in order to have “greater influence” on the decision. Although the strategy is to strengthen the Portuguese presence in Brussels and the employees do not work for doesn’t matter that they are portuguese“, he defends.

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Fruits may not appear early or may not even be measurable. “It will take some time until we see results,” admits the former secretary of state to the prime minister. But the wait does not stop the Portuguese government. “We have to start right now,” Thiago Antunes insists, pointing to the demographic problem among those working in Brussels. “There are a lot of Portuguese who came in at the time of our accession and are now retiring.”

The strategy aims to reverse the cycle of loss of Portuguese representation among the 27. The diploma will be approved this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

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