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Thermostat Recycling Corp. Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Vlad Poptamas



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America’s Top Mercury Recycler Highlights Collection of 2.4 Million Thermostats


Thermostat Recycling Corp., (TRC) celebrates its 20th anniversary Oct. 24, when it incorporated as a stewardship nonprofit.

The original founders — Honeywell, White-Rogers and General Electric — created TRC (through National Electrical Manufacturers Association) with the mission of collecting and recycling thermostats containing mercury, a universally recognized health hazard.

TRC has contributed to the effort by collecting 2.4 million thermostats and prevented 11 tons of mercury from entering the environmental stream.

“This is a landmark anniversary not only because we collected millions of mercury containing thermostats, but we made a consistent and successful contribution to keep our environment safer,” said Ryan L. Kiscaden, executive director, Thermostat Recycling Corp. “Our charter members and those who joined subsequently were determined that TRC would ensure that our effort would be widespread and diligent. Reaching this milestone anniversary allows a moment of reflection. Given the success we’ve had, it proves the foresight of our founders is paying off.”

From the trio of original manufacturers, TRC has expanded to 30 members that provide financial support. Its recycling program now covers the 48 contiguous states, with more than 3,600 businesses and communities serving as collection centers for the free service.

The vast number of TRC’s collection sites consist of HVAC wholesale businesses, who provide space for a special green container that allows their contractor customers to deposit the thermostats in. The wholesalers send the container, via FedEx, to TRC’s recycling center in Port Washington, Wisconsin, where the recycler safely extracts, recycles and stores the mercury. In 2006, TRC added household waste collection sites and thermostat retailers to their collection efforts.

“While we’re gratified to celebrate this 20-year effort and an enviable measure of success, our job is still unfinished,” says Kiscaden. “We’re still engaged in finding that last, elusive mercury containing thermostat, and we don’t plan on taking a rest until we find and safely recycle it.”



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Artificial Intelligence

Decarbonization, digitization and decentralization are accelerating the countdown to a new energy world faster than expected

Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 3 minutes


Renewable energy technology advances, innovation in storage and digitization and increased distributed energy generation are accelerating the pace of the global energy transition, according to the latest EY research in collaboration with IDC, a leading global analyst house.

A year ago, EY teams and IDC mapped the major drivers to determine when three tipping points would forever change the way utilities do business and set the industry on a countdown to reinvention. The latest analysis, covering Europe, the US, Oceania, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, ChinaIndia and Latin America, indicates that these drivers are progressing faster than even the most ambitious estimates, bringing forward the tipping points by as much as two years.

Benoit Laclau, EY Global Energy Leader, says:

“A revolution in the power sector is driving rapid change in renewable energy supported by digital technologies, the falling cost of battery storage, and empowered consumers. These are quickly ushering in a new energy system, transforming our world into one where cleanly generated electricity will power almost every aspect of our lives”

The research identifies four key forces creating a combination of factors that compress the timeline to a new energy world.

Force 1: Better, cheaper technology

As a result of the accelerating shift toward utility-scale renewables, complemented by declines in the cost of decentralized generation-plus-storage solutions, 2018 is the seventh year in a row where new renewable energy capacity outstripped new conventional energy installations. Energy and digital technologies that accelerate renewable deployment, such as battery storage, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence and machine learning, have moved quickly from being emerging trends to integral parts of the energy system. The research indicates that battery innovation — in particular, the adoption of utility-scale storage — marks a major turning point that will drive momentum in other regions.

Force 2: Policy revisions and more ambitious clean energy targets

Around the world, governments are positively revising renewable energy targets, with many mandating big increases that are quickly shifting their country’s energy mix. As technologies and markets mature, countries are increasingly moving away from some of the policy mechanisms that drove early uptake in renewables. While feed-in policies remain the backbone of national support schemes, renewable tenders are becoming prominent.

Force 3: Renewable and behind-the-meter generation gaining momentum, especially among corporates

The analysis indicates that a powerful mix of consumer demand, sustainability targets and a desire to cut costs and secure energy supply is pushing companies to forge their own power purchase agreements (PPAs) or self-generate electricity. For many businesses, the main driver is economics, because significant reductions in renewable energy costs, as well as maturing market and policy environments, have made renewables an attractive source of energy in their own right. Meanwhile, the uptake of solar photovoltaic at a residential level continues to accelerate beyond expectations and community energy schemes are on the rise, impacting energy companies’ market share.

Force 4: Stakeholder action is reshaping energy investment

In the past few years, the funding landscape of the energy sector has changed significantly, with renewables and energy technologies attracting new types of funders. This includes private equity firms and venture capitalists who seek investments with smaller time frames and bigger potential for innovation. One of the major impacts seen is from activist investors as well as regulators, customers and the public, all of whom demand companies to focus on cleaner sources of electricity.

Jean-Francois Segalotto, Associate Research Director, IDC Energy Insights, says:

“This research and analysis has resulted in a multi-regional cost parity model for the energy industry that takes into account both distributed generation and storage, as well as several other enabling technologies. For those energy companies that are actively rethinking their business model, the results of this research provide a concrete horizon against which they can benchmark their action. For those that haven’t yet done so, the data provides one of the strongest calls to action.”

In addition to the above forces, “the electrification of everything” is a major factor that is underpinning this change in the energy mix. By 2050, nearly, 70% of the world’s population are expected to live in urban areas and 50% of total final energy consumption will be electricity. This indicates an electrification of buildings, heating, industry, data centers and transport being the critical lever in the building of sustainable climate-safe cities. In major energy markets, the phasing out of internal combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles (EVs), is a very visible and high impact part of this trend, and is bolstered by initiatives to reduce emissions and create urban mobility networks.

Laclau says: “As the countdown to a new energy world accelerates and a new distributed model emerges, energy companies must be agile and take on a proactive role in the transformation of the sector. But the challenges of the sector cannot be solved in isolation. When industry players, regulators, governments and companies in adjacent sectors work together, there is greater potential to unlock the innovation needed to address the most complex energy challenges.”



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Sono Motors to Produce Sion in Sweden

Betty Tűndik



Sion - The first Solar Electric Vehicle. A car charging itself. - Photo Source:
Reading Time: 2 minutes


The first series production solar electric vehicle (SEV) developed by the German mobility provider Sono Motors is to be manufactured in Sweden. As Sono Motors officially announced today, the first generation of the Sion will be produced in Trollhättan by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). The plant located there was home to the production lines of the long-standing and innovative automobile manufacturer SAAB. In total, an initial 260,000 vehicles will roll off the production line in Trollhättan over an eight-year period. Production will commence in the second half of 2020. After the ramp-up period, approximately 43,000 Sion a year will be manufactured in two-shift operations. Production will be carried out using one hundred percent renewable energy.

“In NEVS, we found the perfect partner for us,” says Thomas Hausch, Chief Operating Officer, Sono Motors. “Together, we share a vision of intelligent and resource-conserving mobility. We also value our partner’s specific expertise based on their many years of experience in traditional automobile development and production in combination with proven expertise in the area of electromobility.”

The innovative vehicle concept of the Sion already represents tomorrow’s mobility today – the aim of which needs to be the reduction of vehicles on the roads through more sustainable and more efficient usage. The Sion will therefore be equipped ex works with integrated sharing options. These enable the owner to share the vehicle itself, individual journeys, or even energy via a mobile application (goSono app), developed by Sono Motors. A bidirectional charging function enables the Sion to both receive and supply electricity, power electrical devices independently, and feed energy to other vehicles or into the electricity grid. Thanks to full-surface solar integration, the vehicle battery can be charged with pure and free solar energy worth up to 34 kilometers’ range per day in addition to its regular WLTP range of 255 kilometers.

For its market launch, the Sion will be rolled out in one single variant version costing 25,500 euros. There are plans afoot to develop other vehicle models based on the vehicle’s platform.

Since the presentation of the prototypes in summer 2017, the Sono Motors team has been going on test drive road shows all over Europe. On the occasion of the cooperation with NEVS, the next road show will take place in Sweden. Sono Motors has so far taken approximately 9,800 partially paid preorders for the Sion.


SOURCE Sono Motors GmbH

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Wuhan Lays Out Construction of Guanggu Nanda Health Industrial Park

Betty Tűndik



Wuhan Lays Out Construction of Guanggu Nanda Health Industrial Park
Reading Time: 1 minute


Wuhan, capital city of central China’s Hubei province, has attracted ten major healthcare industry companies, including Taikang Group and China Biotech, to participate in building its Health Industrial Park.

The Health Industrial Park is being created with the goal of becoming a 100 billion yuan (about 15 billion U.S. dollars) hotspot of biomedicine, medical equipment, and healthcare by 2030, according to a local official at the ongoing First World Health Expo.

Wuhan‘s Jiangxia District, known as China Guanggu, or China’s “Optics Valley,” has formed a health-centered industrial cluster of bio-pharmaceutical, diagnostic equipment, and drug manufacturers. The planned Guanggu Health Industrial Park will cover 98.1 square kilometers.

Compared with Wuhan Guanggu Bio-City, which brings in revenue in excess of 100 billion yuan, the park will focus on the research and development of cutting-edge technologies in the fields of life and health while incubating key healthcare enterprises.

The Health Industry Park is positioned as a “production-research interaction” space which integrates R&D and manufacturing activities in harmony. The park will partner with Guanggu Bio-City to facilitate active industrial collaboration.

Jiangxia District will offer a preferential policy support package to health industry enterprises interested in the area, which will include financial services and R&D incentives.

Zhang Li, Jiangxia District mayor, said that Optics Valley Nanda Health Industrial Park would provide preferential policies and financial support to enterprises interested in the area. The value of a single-item policy fund is over 100 million yuan, or around 15 million U.S. dollars.

The Wuhan Health Industry Development Plan specifies that Guanggu Nanda Health Industry Park intends to introduce 100 enterprises over the next 10 years in building a 100 billion yuan-level center of business. 50,000 employees are projected to participate in establishing the fifth national industrial park in Wuhan, reaching an important milestone for Wuhan’s healthcare industry.


SOURCE: Wuhan Jiangxia District Government


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