This week in future tech, figures show Ireland’s EV sales have jumped, but still pale in comparison to our 2030 Climate Action Plan target.
Research into Irish electric vehicle (EV) sales by Cornwall Insight revealed that uptake has increased by 53pc year on year. In January of this year, EV registrations reached 5,739, up by 73.6pc compared with the same month in 2019.
Simiarly, sales increased by 13.3pc in February when compared with 2019. However, Cornwall Insight analyst Tom Lusher said despite the positive sales uptake, Ireland is nowhere near achieving the 2030 target of having 950,000 EVs on Irish roads.
“With Irish motorists purchasing most new cars in January and July, it is possible we may have already seen the peak for EV sales this year,” he said.
“As a result, many will wonder how the 2030 targets will be achieved, particularly without new supportive measures from the Government to boost uptake. Ireland may need to go further and put in more ambitious measures. This could include removing the €120 per year motor tax on EVs to achieve its ambitious targets.”
European tidal power generation surges by 50pc
Ocean Energy Europe has revealed new figures showing that the amount of electricity generated by tidal energy in Europe increased by 50pc last year. Tidal energy remains one of the least explored forms of renewable energy, using movement caused by daily tides in seas and oceans to generate electricity.
Europe’s tidal energy capacity reached 27.7MW in 2019, four times larger than other parts of the world. Electricity produced by tidal energy added 15 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to Europe’s running total, which hit 49GWh at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, wave energy – which generates electricity from the kinetic force of waves – saw its capacity increase by 25pc in Europe, with a total capacity of 11.8MW.
“Every recent 2050 energy scenario sees wind and solar at the centre of European electricity production,” said Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe.
“The large-scale deployment of second-generation renewables such as ocean energy is essential to complement these two variable energies. Predictable ocean energy, producing at different times from wind and solar, will be a vital tool to support the transformation of Europe’s energy system towards a zero-carbon future.”
UPS to develop delivery drone with Wingcopter
A drone delivery subsidiary of the postal giant UPS said it’s collaborating with German drone producer Wingcopter to develop new drones for use cases across the US. This will include UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) trying to get regulatory approval for Wingcopter’s drones to make commercial delivery flights.
“Drone delivery is not a one-size-fits-all operation,” said Bala Ganesh, vice-president of the UPS Advanced Technology Group. “Our collaboration with Wingcopter helps pave the way for us to start drone delivery service in new use cases.
“UPSFF is building a network of technology partners to broaden our unique capability to serve customers and extend our leadership in drone delivery.”
Wingcopter said its drones have a unique tilt-rotor mechanism that allows the aircraft to switch between hovering and fixed-wing flight.
AI helps search for battery material
Researchers at MIT have used neural networks to dramatically speed up the search for new materials that can be used to develop the batteries of the future. In a study published to ACS Central Science, Heather Kulik and her team were able to use AI to discover eight of the most promising materials from 3m candidates.
This culling process would have taken 50 years by conventional analytical methods, they said, but took just five weeks with this approach.
The study looked at a set of materials called transition metal complexes. These can exist in a vast number of different forms, and Kulik said they “are really fascinating, functional materials that are unlike a lot of other material phases”.
“The only way to understand why they work the way they do is to study them using quantum mechanics,” she added.
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