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This weekly report covers all aspects of the major changes facing industry, from climate change initiatives through ESG investing, and includes regular work on recycling, renewables, energy transition and hydrogen, and carbon capture and use.  It is included as part of our comprehensive research/consulting subscription, but can also be purchased separately.


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With A Spotlight On Material Shortages – Efficient Use Matters

Was the IRA really intended to support the idea of banks of expensive electrolyzers sitting idle for 70% of the day? Profitable but a poor use of resources.

Not enough is being done to think this through – storage is the go-to solution but requires overbuilding of wind/solar and expensive batteries – more resources.

We would have much less of a critical mineral issue if they were used efficiently, and while this is a challenge, it is one worth pursuing – nuclear would help.

We also look at the benefits of modular and standardized production versus customized solutions – standardization can lead to much more profit.

Otherwise, the WPC conference is driving a lot of discussions around recycling and sustainability and furthered many energy transition conversations from CERA.

Carbon Capture – Increasingly the Key To Energy Transition

Decarbonizing hydrocarbon use is in the spotlight as countries reel from a year when energy security has been higher on the agenda than energy transition.

Our expectation that more oil and gas, especially gas, will be needed, than in original plans is turning out to be correct but large-scale CCS was part of our view.

The need to align safe sequestration locations with economics and permitting is the challenge from here – Malaysia for example has ample space but no price.

The UK has unveiled a bold but expensive plan to support CCS and coastal European countries will likely need to do the same or lose investment to the UK.

Otherwise, the questions of the critical material get louder, although prices move lower, recycling targets look challenged and renewable inflation continues.

Will The New World Bank Please Step Forward – CERA Early Read

The sense of urgency around energy transition is apparent in almost every aspect of CERA week this year, something that was barely mentioned 5 years ago.

Lots of talk about the skills and the money being available to meet the challenge, but real concerns around bottlenecks – permitting and access to available funds.

Lender risk appetite is missing for early-stage technology and countries/regions with higher political/currency risk – this is where the World Bank should step in.

We look at metal pricing weakness and recap some of our concerns around lithium expectations – the range of demand forecast leaves room for major error.

Otherwise, we look at how the wind value chain has developed – prices need to rise – and we highlight some late reporters’ sustainability plans.

Deglobalization: Good For Current Mood – Bad For Climate Change

Effective global energy transition requires a level of global collaboration better than we saw with COVID – current trends suggest we are moving the wrong way.

National/Energy security issues pull countries in different directions & incentive programs are different enough to drive wedges through trade agreements.

Attempts to drive national security of clean energy solutions may drive more failed initiatives with underdeveloped technologies – increasing financial stress.

The big risk is that enough countries create wide enough economic moats to cause other global agreements to fail with some major and important trade at risk.

Otherwise, we look at other ambitions – more CCS, more blue and green hydrogen and ammonia, and possible higher share prices by moving countries!

Will Density Drive Destiny? Ammonia As a Fuel is Not Stupid

Ammonia leads again, following earning reports from the existing producers and more speculation around who will enter the market – our expectations are high.

Current prices for ammonia may be a red herring, with spring demand likely to highlight shortages and lift pricing again from what are still historic highs.

If ammonia as fuel takes off, fertilizer markets could be outbid for raw materials, driving higher urea/UAN pricing and shortages – this is not a positive for farmers.

We note activity in Carbon Capture and a European price that has recently hit records – this, and the higher 45Q credit in the US, should drive CCS investment.

We look at more forecasts of renewable power shortages, constraints on hydropower, the cracks in the lithium market, and carbon-free consulting.

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