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Energy

Grids being served by renewable energy are reliable even in extreme weather conditions

Millions of Americans have been living without power for quite some time through the past week. This situation is attributable to the extreme winter season that escalated the dependence on electricity for warmth and other heat-generation operations. Nonetheless, the high demand for electricity is not the only problem leading to the shortage. Other factors include insufficient development of electricity utilities and restrictive regulations regarding the safety of forests from wildfires. Moreover, some grids need winterization to minimize future risks. This year witnessed millions of people spend the best part of winter in cold environments without power, making some freeze to death.

Meanwhile, politicians began pointing fingers at where fault should lie. Some decided to blame renewable energy for the sole creator of the outages. This move, of course, is simply not right. The technical failure was across the board for all energy generation in the state’s isolated power supply, and an investigation will look into how state policy played a role.

On the other hand, politicians started playing the blame game, with some pointing at renewable energy as the primary problem of a power outage. Experts have come up with an informed plan that will resolve such contentions about electricity supply in the future. A renewable energy research scientist from the University of Albany, Richard Perez, participated in the formulation of this plan. He explained that the electric grid could operate solely on renewable energy by engineering it to survive peak demand, harsh weather conditions, among other physical factors. Perez emphasized that the solar or wind energy structure must have high resilience to ensure continuous service provision even in extreme conditions.

The other challenge that people have managed to design the solution is the snowing on photovoltaic fields. The experts think that the ideal solution for this problem is winterizing the resources that can be coated with snow. This strategy has played out effectively in Canada, and the experts are hoping that it can shine in the US since Canada experiences way colder weather than the US. The next strategy is developing solar panels or wind turbines that can get the best results from any kind of weather. This move will help the country avoid the trouble of spending on the storage technology for this energy when they can tap it regularly and intensively. He outlined that a fusion of solar and wind energy collection technology can work out this magic and save the Americans the hustle of spending winter in blackouts.

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Space

L3Harris wins a $137 million deal for the GPS digital payloads

On February 23, L3Harris Technologies reported that it had secured a $137 million deal for 4-digital payloads, which are meant for the GPS navigation satellites from the Lockheed Martin firm. The navigation payload flight data units produced by Lockheed Martin are meant for the next-generation GPS satellites identified as GPS 3 Follow-on or the GPS 3F. For the next generation of the GPS satellites, identified as GPS 3 Follow-on or the GPS 3F, Lockheed Martin provided L3Harris the green light to begin the production of the fully digital navigation payload.

The digital payload passed what the military considers an “important design review” that allowed the modern payload design to be shown to be mature enough to move to the final test as well as delivery of production. The mission data unit, which is intended to provide more efficient signals and ensure reliable atomic clock procedures, is the core aspect of the navigation payload. Lockheed Martin develops the satellites for the United States military. The organization uses L3Harris’ 70% digital mission data module for 10 GPS 3 satellites. Throughout the 11th satellite of GPS 3 constellation that will be the Follow-on version, the 100% digital payload will be added.

In the year 2018, Lockheed Martin chose L3Harris to design as well as develop the very first two completely digital mission data modules and awarded the firm a deal for two payloads for $243 million in the year 2019. The latest award is for an extra four units. The newest payload will enable the transfer of GPS constellation to the potential ground control system, identified as GPS OCX, produced by Raytheon, stated Ed Zoiss, who serves as the President of Space as well as Airborne Systems at the L3Harris Company.

The GPS 3 satellites that are presently being deployed have a digital 70% L3Harris mission data unit. The very first four GPS 3 satellites are currently operational and have been deployed. In the coming years, six more will be deployed. In 2026, the United States Space Force aims to begin deploying GPS 3F satellites. These will also have a digital payload of 100 percent. In September 2018, the United States Air force approved a contract valued at $7.2 billion to Lockheed Martin to develop a maximum of 22 GPS 3F satellites.

L3Harris (L3Harris Technologies) is an American-based technology firm that manufactures C6ISR systems and devices, night vision equipment, wireless equipment, tactical radios, avionics and electronic systems, space-borne antennas, and terrestrial to be used in the defense, army as well as commercial sectors and the information technology services provider.

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Space

Telesat promises a satellite network offering internet connection similar to fibre to various businesses

According to Telesat, the Canadian telecommunications satellite operator, Lightspeed is coming soon. Lightspeed is the name it chose for its upcoming next-generation broadband satellite network. Thales Alenia Space will be the manufacturer, and the services will be available globally and will be no different high-speed fibre internet. Its constellation will comprise 298 such satellites. Additionally, it will be orbiting the Earth at a distance of approximately 1000 km from its surface. That altitude is only slightly higher than half that of the International Space Station (ISS).

According to Dan Goldberg, the CEO of Tesla, the company is not new in the industry. Therefore, venturing into Lightspeed is far from moving into uncharted waters. As a matter of fact, some aspects such as the market and customers are the same old ones. So, the difference comes in the architecture, which will be better and more groundbreaking than the previous one.

As usual, its customers will be businesses. Lightspeed’s constellation budget is $5 billion. The money will go towards purchasing satellites, paying for rocket launches, developing the necessary software platforms, constructing ground infrastructure, and eventually operating the network. Interestingly, a considerable chunk of money amounting to $3 billion will cater to the satellite’s cost. That’s the worth of the contract between Telesat and Thales Alenia Space. They have been in the business to business model, and 50 years later, the company doesn’t plan to change it. Therefore, Kuiper and Starlink by Amazon and SpaceX, respectively, will not be its competitors despite the project being quite similar.

Rural municipalities, cruise ships and airlines will be part of the customer base. That doesn’t mean that end customers can’t use the services, but that will only be possible through the Canadian government. The two have already signed a contract. It entails the government using Lightspeed to create a pool of capacity then sell it to extremely rural broadband providers and municipalities at a pocket-friendly price. As for Telesat, the project is about availing affordable satellite internet connection in the market.

If things go as planned, the launch will take place in 2023 and Lightspeed’s operation operations commencing soon after that. Its launch vehicle will most likely be Blue Origin’s, New Glenn. Its development is still ongoing, and its debut launch is scheduled for next year. Therefore, Goldberg, who has been following its progress, is hopeful that it will be ready by 2023. However, they are open to other launch providers, and the announcement of some of the alternatives will happen in a few months.

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Space

The Landscape could soon change the Space Sector with Liquid methane rocket launches

The Landscape is a renowned private firm in China. For a while now, it has been working on finding out the possibility of having a launching vehicle powered by methane fuel. If things go as planned, the debut orbital launch of this manner might see the light of the day by the end of this year. So far, so good since, at the beginning of February, it achieved a commendable milestone. The firm assembled the four Tianque-12 liquid methane-liquid oxygen engines. These engines will be responsible for powering the first stage of the Zhuque-2 rocket. Before that, there were several tests in late January, including the one for the payload fairing separation. The thrust engines, weighing 80 metric tonnes, also underwent several f 400-second hot-fire tests.

Zhuque-2 is a two-stage rocket with a length of 49.5 meters. Upon its successful launch, it will be the first methane-fueled launching vehicle. 2021 will also see debut launches for Vulcan and New Glenn by ULA and Blue Origin, respectively. The pair will be powered by BE-4 staged-combustion methalox engines manufactured by Blue Origin. The gas generator engines that will power the Zhuque-2 are neither complex nor too efficient.

Nevertheless, according to Landscape, the launcher can handle a payload delivery with a weight capacity of up to 4,000 kg to the low earth orbit of up to 200 km. Another possible scenario is a lift-off of payload weighing 2,000 kg to the SSO up to 500 km. So far, the schedule of the test for the launch is indefinite. However, Landscape expects it to happen this year.

For the debut launch, reusing will be out of the question. However, that is bound to change for the rest of the launch. After all, Landscape plans to come up with a different Tianque-12 thrust version using technologies such as pintle injectors. Such a design would facilitate the recovery and recycling of the first stages by allowing vertical takeoffs and landings.

The Zhuque-2 rocket will also make history in China, the first liquid-propellant rocket that a Chinese commercial launch provider has ever developed. That’s because they have been trying out solid rockets so far with a record of up to five orbital launches. Participants of these five attempts included Landscape, iSpace that has done 2, Galactic Energy, and OneSpace. Unfortunately, the majority of them, three to be precise, were unsuccessful.

Besides, iSpace, which is a Landscape competitor, is also in the process of developing a Hyperbola-2 methalox launcher that will be reusable. On the other hand, Aerospace Propulsion and Jiuzhou Yunjian, engine manufacturers, are also developing commercial liquid methane engines.

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Energy

Upstream SaaS ERP of W Energy Applications Selected for Management of Renewable Energy Royalties as well as Multimillion Acre Portfolio

W Energy SaaS ERP is the leading cloud-based energy logistics as well as transaction management software solution. In their recent announcements, it looks like the software just received another amazing deal. It will be in charge of the land and accounts of a different mix of royalty streams which spans renewable energy from its looks. In 2021, February 10th, the new boss in upstream and midstream oil and gas SaaS ERP solutions of W Energy Software went into the public about an exciting announcement. From the new leader’s statement, it is clear that W Energy has hit a new and awarding deal.

The statement highlighted that a broad royalty owner has confirmed up software licenses with the company. This fact means that the software solutions company will deal with its financial accounts and the land’s general management. What is exciting about this news piece is that W Energy won the bid after multiple lands and accounting software providers underwent a head-to-head evaluation to determine their legitimacy. W Energy is in charge of managing its multi-million-acre lease holdings and the revenue from these leases. The finances run from the surface to the mineral royalty streams.

Analysts explain that the top reason why W Energy Software was given a shot was its ability to manage the land and finances in a unique and exemplary way. It works with an integrated ERP solution that manages the accounts and the land simultaneously. Another reason why the deal went to W energy is its scalability features that meet the enterprise-level complexity. In addition to that, W Energy Software SaaS has a grand portfolio of the company’s cases for different clients. All these features go beyond what any legacy software vendor can offer, especially when dealing with a huge contract.

The client behind this W Energy Software contract has extensive lease holdings that revolve around millions of minerals and many surface areas in various states. This new client hopes that the W Energy enterprise-level ERP technology can work on their lands’ accounting and management. The management plan also involves different operations, including exploration, renewable power development, mining, and oil & gas exploration. With this software, the company can save on time and cost of integrating different systems to manage their management.

Following all the client’s requirements, the recruitment team settled for W Energy after the company exceeded its expectations. It is outstanding in financial accounting, land management, and fixed asset accounting. In their statement, Pete Waldroop, CEO of W Energy, thanked their clients for joining their team. In addition to that, Pete spoke about its dream to strive for excellence in its performance.

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Space

The setting of disruptive prices on new satellite IoT service by Sara Spangelo

Sara Spangelo, the Swarm‘s CEO, announced that the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) is now live. The internet links sandwich-sized satellites to small, handheld hardware to provide remote connectivity at a disorderly market price of $5/month/device.

Swarm was established in 2017, and in 2018 it gained more attention on media for launching satellites without the approval of FCC. Right now, Swarm is a critical player in the satellite IoT market. On Tuesday, Swarm announced its commercial availability after launching 36 satellites in the SpaceX rideshare mission. So far, the company has over 81 satellites in LEO, of which 71 are for commercial use.

Swarm is perpendicularly integrated, and it has designed and constructed software, hardware, and other arrangements for its satellites.  It has also developed a user modem known as Swarm Tile that costs $119 each. The modem can be fixed into any IoT device operating in a distant location. The Tile modem conveys data with other satellites in Low Earth Orbit weighing 400 grams.

 These satellites’ role is to gather data and then pass it to ground stations and place it into API where customers can access it faster. For a full cycle data transmission to be complete, it is usually two-way traffic. The sensor receives a command from the customer, and then the sensor gives the information or data that the client wants. In every three hours, satellites must pass over the Swarm’s ground stations. After launching about 150 small satellites, the company allows data transmission to take place anytime.

Spangelo said that the Swarm pricing scheme is less costly compared to other satellites in the market today. It is 4-20 times cheaper and allows the company to transfer data more regularly since it has many satellites. Spangelo said that with Swarm’s new model, a client who was previously paying $10000 per month to a service provider can now comfortably pay $500 per month. She added that this new pricing is set so as to attract new customers who could not afford to pay for the remote IoT connectivity before.

Spangelo said that this is a better opportunity for small companies in logistics or agriculture businesses. The model will advise them on the risks to take, how to run their price points, and the best markets to enter. Swarm has a high demand in monitoring water applications and maritime tracking as well as tracking trucks. Spangelo said that the company offers its services to both small and medium-sized customers.

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Space

Ku-Band Satellite Connectivity Added to Ansat Helicopters

Ansat helicopters in Russia have been fitted with in-flight satellite connectivity. The regulatory clearance for the in-flight operations was awarded the Mku30 system from the Kazan Helicopters, which is an affiliate of the Rostec State Corporation. Through the Yamal Ku-band satellite connectivity, the Mku30 solution will be able to offer up to 2 Mbit/s. The Yamal network is responsible for Russia’s widespread coverage and its surrounding regions, including Europe and a considerable African portion. The network also covers the south pacific and the northern parts of Australia.

Though the speed of connection is not high for Ku-band connection, the service is hindered by the antenna system’s size and location on the aircraft. When the antenna is placed on the aircraft’s side, just below the blades, interference is faced, and there is also the problem of reducing the size of the antenna to fit the aircraft’s profile.

Rostec is optimistic that models of the Ansat will be equipped for use by the public though for now, they are targeting the VIP configuration market where passengers will be willing to spend on the connectivity while on board. The company is optimistic that the medevac settings or the law discipline sectors will benefit significantly from the use of the connectivity. This is because the system is designed to help discerning passengers, doctors, police, those working in areas dealing with emergencies, among others, as it is designed to stay online and get operational information.

However, this is not the first attempt for a Russian firm to provide a home-developed inflight connectivity solution as Aeroflot had announced its plans to act as the pilot client for joint operation by SES and Sputnik Telecommunication Entertainment Company (STECCOM) back in 2018.  Though the deal was set to fit aircraft fitted at the beginning of the year and was meant to roll out by mid-2018 and see the A320 fleet online by 2019, it did not happen through the carrier has the STECCOM system online on its initial A350 planes.

“At the customer’s request, the satellite communication program will be mounted in the Ansat helicopters. For passenger as well as VIP adjustments of the aircraft, that choice will be most important.”  Aleksey Belykh, who works as the Managing Director of Kazan Helicopter Factory, noted that the ability to utilize the Internet between flights is yet another step in providing world-class luxury for Ansat helicopters. An enhanced Ansat-M helicopter took off on 29 December 2020 with an expanded flight range of close to 800 km with an added fuel tank. Improved track safety, new avionics as well as modernized heating and the ventilation system have been incorporated in the revised version of the aircraft. The aircraft will be fitted with a 3-channel autopilot in 2021.

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Energy

The rise in renewable energy increases investors’ returns

Among the beneficiaries of the White House Administration include SunPower, Enphase, and FirstSolar. These companies have substantial renewable energy stocks and are working towards the nation’s agenda of boosting green power and curbing climate change. Last year, the stock of these companies increased, improving the market’s gain.

President Joe Biden’s first day in office re-entered the United States to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, stopped gas and oil leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and canceled a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, David Lebovitz, said that the last year’s move was droved by the fact that there would be more policy to support these initiatives moving forward. All these things are done to help fight against climate change. America wants to go back to its previous position of being a global leader in tackling the climate crisis.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind contribute to 12% of the total energy production. This is an increase from 4% in 2011. Power from hydroelectric sources was at 8%, while energy generated from coal decreased to 24% from 44%. Last year, Fremont, California’s Enphase renewable power cascaded by over six times. Biden’s administration plans to spend $2 billion to enable a pollution-free energy sector by 2035. This is expected to significantly benefit the companies that engage in the generation of wind and solar energy. Biden also has other initiatives such as investments in negative emissions technologies and battery storage.

Last year December, industry optimism was strengthened when the government approved a fiscal stimulus package to extend wind and solar generation tax credit and other incentives. The lithium mine’s approval in Nevada by the government is expected to increase access to rechargeable batteries’ key components for electric vehicle technology. The head of the sustainable and impact investing at UBS Global Wealth Management, Andrew Lee, said that thinking of long-term anticipations in renewables is a significant thing for future generations.

The US predicts more revenue returns as the demand for renewable energy increases. Also, more solar and wind projects are expected to build. In 2021, plant owners and developers target to have an additional 15.4GW of capacity to the grid.  According to the US Energy Information Administration, this will be an increase from 12GW in 2020. The agency said that they expect the largest portion of this renewable energy in 2021 would come from solar, saying that this would be the first time solar energy would exceed wind power.

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Space

DARPA to survey the capabilities of the private sector to construct factories on the moon

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is planning to listen from the space sector about their strengths to build the broad structures on the moon. This is the latest initiative that the DARPA agency announced on February 5, identified as “Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, components as well as mass-efficient design.”

Bill Carter, who works at DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office as the program manager, said in a statement that DARPA seeks to “develop fundamental materials, processes, as well as designs required to realize in-space development of massive, accurate and resilient Defense Department systems.” DARPA invites companies that have innovations in this sector to participate in an online session scheduled for February 26. The organization does not plan to issue any new deals now, but it is conducting market evaluation for a potential solicitation.

This declaration does not state why lunar systems are of interest to DARPA or the Defense Department. This form of the project is in line with Defense Sciences Office of DARPA’s mission to prevent and predict what could come next from technological surprise. Wide, high-precision mechanical structures, large radio frequency reflector antennas, large solar arrays and segmented infrared-reflective optics are some of the lunar manufacturing innovations DARPA needs to learn about.

If the Defense Department wanted a center on the moon to stand up, the transport of materials as well as equipment would be the biggest challenge. For the government and private sector, access to space is becoming more routine, “but even with regular launches, modern rockets impose mass and volume limits on the payloads they deliver to orbit.” This size restriction prevents large-scale, complex space systems from being built and deployed that can cope with the developments in their environment or mission, DARPA said. Carter, the program manager, stated that “for some time, space companies and scientists have been thinking about on-orbit production, so we expect to show new materials and manufacturing technologies by the end of the program.” DARPA is planning a three-phase program of about 18 months each.

Carter said DARPA would like to learn about “system designs that are so mass-efficient that they can only be constructed off Earth and with features that allow them to withstand space and lunar environments typical of maneuvers, eclipses, damage, and thermal cycles. “The statement said that manufacturing in space would bring “significant improvements in structural efficiency, size, resilience, and accuracy for future space-based platforms.”

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Energy

The electric vehicle highs expected to proceed to overdrive

Tesla‘s chief executive, Elon Musk, is now the richest person, with the company boasting of more than 700% in sales. China’s Nio is the other company in the electric vehicle industry that has clocked 1300% sales demonstrating that China is the best market for these cars. Other electric vehicle stocks are also rising in value, with this trend expected to progress throughout the year after most countries showing high interest in transitioning their transportation sector to clean energy. Nio is very expectant of becoming the new Teslas in addition to other companies like Fisker. Another company on the watch-list in the electric vehicle industry Canada’s Facedrive, which procured Steer, a subscription service in Washington DC that will provide the renting option for cars instead of purchasing them.

Additionally, Biden’s election in the United States elections will bring the country into this quest after the previous president advocating for the opposite. Tesla will have the opportunity to develop and expand its technology, which it could not do under Trump’s administration for fear of ruffling feathers with the government and losing out on the United States market. One brand that the company is closely watching is the Fisker SUV. The model boasts of recyclable parts and is yearning for the attention that the other Tesla brands attained while entering the market. Fisker will be lucky to develop and release the Ocean SUV in 2023 after taking the advance orders this year and next year for the development of the most competitive units.

Another interesting experience for the electric vehicle industry is that the Biden administration will be pouring $2 trillion into the renewable energy utilities. This move will make the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure swift, suppressing the grunts by the citizens over mileage range problems. Tesla, which boasts of a $660 billion net worth, will be the biggest beneficiary in such a move because the other competitors like General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are still far from this value. The company’s stocks clocked an increase of more than 14000%. Nio appears to be rising with its shares growing from $3.24 last year to $61 this month in the China market. Moreover, the company unveiled a model that has the latest technology, which even Tesla fans would opt to try.

Li Auto of China finalizes today’s discussion, which can never end because the technology in this industry and the changes happen in short periods. Li Xiang founded this company five years ago, dedicating it to develop local plug-in hybrid vehicles. After merging with a SPAC and its subsequent listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange market, the company is already in its highs. The company has clocked over $30 billion as its worth and is expected to develop over 120 million electric vehicles in this decade. This move is possible since the ban on ICE cars is fast approaching, and Li Auto will be among the benefactors in this trend.