“This company invented a better soda can. Why isn’t anybody buying?” – Grist, 30 October 2014

Less than a year after introducing the evercan, Novelis broke ground on a new multimillion dollar plant in Germany to manufacture the cans, which are made of 90 percent recycled aluminum. Novelis thought the evercan was a win-win for the company: the cans are cheaper to produce and more sustainable for the environment, since far less energy is used to produce recycled aluminum than virgin aluminum, a minimum of five percent.

With such advantages, it seems that the large beverage companies — Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, MillerCoors, etc. — would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on the evercan; however, these companies aren’t buying. The only company currently using the evercan is Georgia-based micro-brewer Red Hare Brewing Co. What’s even more odd is that Novelis’ aluminum supply is being purchased in spades by top automobile companies Ford and GM for their new lines of all-aluminum body cars.

But it seems that the beverage industry’s preferences are elsewhere. Besides the beverage companies’ hesitance to rely on one aluminum supplier, many of the companies, such as Coca-Cola, prefer PET plastic bottles to cans. Coca-Cola uses a bottle called a “plantbottle,” which is a PET bottle produced from sugar cane and sugar cane waste. The plantbottle makes up 60 percent of Coca-Cola’s worldwide sales. Moreover, the plantbottle is also resealable, which is a bonus for consumers.

Environmentally undesirable land filling, for obvious reasons, is a total waste of energy and valuable raw materials. Exporting lower value scrap is another way to export energy and valuable elements embedded in post-consumer aluminum products, only to come back to the US as more value added semi and fully finished products. This would adversely affect US trade balance.

Furthermore, economic incentives and societal consumer awareness supported by numerous newer scrap sorting technologies under development should limit land filling of scrap in US and reduce scrap export to countries like China.

If one beverage company vouches for the evercan, then perhaps other companies would follow suit. But more than that, the industries directly involved in recycling — aluminum, beverage, and waste — need to bolster their recycling actions so that Novelis has more material to work with.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

November 2, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“The Real Climate ‘Deniers’ Are the Greens” – Wall Street Journal, 2 February 2014

Europe’s strategies to use more green energy have mostly failed, causing some countries to accumulate enormous debt. Germany and Spain, for example, have both decided to reduce their renewable energy subsidies—for Germany, renewable energy subsidies have been estimated at costing $32 billion per year for consumers.

According to the Center for European Policy Studies, European steelmakers pay two times as much for electricity and four times as much for natural gas than US steelmakers; electricity costs for homeowners in Denmark have also skyrocketed, costing over three times the average rate in the US.

While the term “climate denier” has been applied to those who don’t believe in the effects of climate change, the term should now be used for environmentalists who incessantly promote renewable energy and its positive outcomes, like job growth.

‘Climate deniers’ refuse to believe in the high costs that renewable energy subsidies have cost Europe; they refuse to believe in the advantages of the US’s natural gas boom; and they refuse to believe in the difficulties of lowering global carbon dioxide emission levels.

Natural gas has had a large positive environmental impact in the US: in 2013, we saw a 41% increase in US natural gas production from 2005. This boom in natural gas reduces the US’s need for coal, thus curbing emission levels. According to the EPA, coal power plants expend twice the amount of emissions than natural gas power plants. Moreover, the US’s emission levels are diminishing at a faster rate than the EU’s: from 2005-2012, the US’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 10.9%, while the EU’s emissions only fell by 9.9%.

Instead of turning to natural gas to decrease debts, coal-use and emission levels, countries are using more and more coal. Global coal consumption has risen by almost 55% during the last ten years, as both populations and demand grow; global carbon dioxide emissions have also risen by 32% over that ten year span. Germany is likely to turn to coal as the country continues to shut down its nuclear power plants. China too will gravitate towards coal, its carbon dioxide emission levels having increased by almost 3.6 billion tons since 2005.

What we can gather from this information is that the US knows how to successfully implement carbon policy, what Obama has introduced as the Climate Action Plan. The US has been able to simultaneously cut emissions while fostering a natural gas boom.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 23, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“Shale-Oil Boom Puts Spotlight on Crude Export Ban” – 1 January 2014, Wall Street Journal

The flood of natural gas might have the US rethinking its ban on crude oil exports, which dates back to the 1970s.

The world’s biggest oil refinery is located in the US, along the Gulf Coast, and is pumping out an oversupply of crude. The abundance of oil is causing prices to crash, forcing producers to look at their other options — i.e. exporting. These last few months, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has been fighting to lift export restrictions, as is Exxon Mobil, the US’s largest energy company. US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has more or less agreed, noting that the bans were instituted during the period of an energy dearth, not an abundance.

Arguments on the ban pit environmentalists, producers, consumers and the government all against each other. Proponents contend that removing the ban will boost the US’s trade deficit; opponents want to retain supplies in the US so that we rely less on the Middle East; others worry about the negative effects of increased drilling on the environment and climate.

The US currently exports coal, electricity, gasoline, diesel and natural gas — everything, it seems, but crude. Crude production is on an upswing in the US, largely due to shale formations located in Texas and North Dakota. It’s predicted that these formations will generate around 7.7 million barrels/day in 2014, and, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), set to grow by 24% to 9.6 million barrels/day in 2019. The onslaught of oil could drive down prices, ultimately slowing the nation’s energy boom.

The only way Congress is likely to immediately act is if the ban induces layoffs of energy workers. Regardless, any revisions to the law won’t be immediate. But the new year might just be Exxon’s, and other major energy companies’, year.

We believe that US oil companies should be allowed to export crude oil as a tool lower trade deficit, and increase export-related high paying domestic jobs.

See also:
Exxon Presses for Exports

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

January 3, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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