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Did You Know? November 2021

Did you know that the humble lead-acid battery is one of the most recycled products in the country? Seeing as November 15th was National Recycling Day in the US, according to the Battery Council International (BCI), the lead-acid battery has a recycling rate of 99%. The BCI also claims that a new battery consists of over 80% recycled material and nearly 70% of its lead comes from recycling. However, high-quality stationary batteries use virgin lead which is then recycled.

Food for thought: millions of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and other lithium type batteries will be retired in the next decade (120 million tons by one estimate), and what will happen to them? We don’t know, although there are some promising things on the horizon. After pouring a boatload of money into developing these batteries, now there is another boatload of money going into figuring out how to recycle them.

Talking about EV batteries, did you know that General Motors has recalled every Chevy Bolt ever made, blaming faulty batteries manufactured by LG? Talk about a PR nightmare.

Did you know that one in twelve men world-wide is color blind but only one in 200 women is? And since the colors red and green are hard to distinguish for people with Color Vision Deficiency (CVD), this got this author thinking: if an electrician cannot distinguish between the red wire (line one on a three-phase circuit) and the green ground wire, then it could be an accident waiting to happen. If the electrician is a male, then maybe he should have a female looking over his shoulder! On a sporting front, it must be difficult for someone who suffers from CVD to watch the Atlanta Falcons play the New York Jets!

Did you know that the father of Alternating Current (AC) motors and generation, Nikola Tesla, predicted several modern inventions, including:

  • Smartphones
  • Wi-Fi
  • Laser rays
  • Remote control
  • Self-drive cars
  • Fuel-less planes
  • Wireless transmission of energy

While the last two are being worked on, I wonder if Tesla meant small, conventional-fueled aeroplanes? According to IEEE Spectrum magazine’s “Crosstalk”, November 2021, “Batteries are nowhere near able to sustain wide-body airlines over flights measuring in the thousands of kilometers.”

Did you know that, according to the Wall Street Journal, electricity prices in the UK have jumped to a record US$ 490 per MWh? That’s a 700% increase over the last decade. Other countries’ economies are experiencing similar increases. I guess one could say that the Pied Piper must be paid.

Did you know that according to Electrical Review, September/October 2021, demand for electricity is set to rise a whopping 25% by 2040? Most of this will be because of the rise in the number of electric vehicles and the proliferation of data centers. Another report from the Cornwall Insight’s “Benchmark Power Curve” forecasts that by 2040, electric vehicles will contribute an additional 71.6TWh. This is a massive 31-times higher than the current level of demand for electricity for electrified transport and 25% of current annual demand. According to the report, “electrification of the economy (electric vehicles and heat pumps) and use of green hydrogen as an energy carrier all increase demand from 298TWh in 2020-2021 to 628.4TWh by 2040.”

This author does not know where this additional power is going to come from but it certainly won’t be wind and solar. Don’t tear down those fossil fuel plants just yet, or maybe not until there are enough micro nuclear plants in place. The numbers just don’t add up. While we are waiting for a miracle to happen, make sure you have sufficient backup power in place for your critical loads.

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