Fusion Power Funding, A New EV Battery Plant In Kansas And How Food Waste Costs Taxpayers


This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

In the first four months of 2022, renewable energy sources provided 25.5% of electricity in the United States, according to reporting from CleanTechnica based on numbers from the Energy Information Administration. That’s up from 21.7% during the same period in 2020. It’s also more electricity than is provided by coal in the U.S., which was 20.2%, as well as nuclear. Natural gas provided 34.7% of U.S. electricity during this period of time 34.7%, a number that’s down from 39.6% of U.S. electricity during the first four months of 2020.

And here’s what might be coming down the road next: fusion power. According to a new report, investment backing for private fusion power startups is up 139% year over year for a total of $4.8 billion. Eight new fusion power startups kicked off over the past year as well, and private investment into fusion energy is now greater than government funding for development. This interest from private investors may be a sign that fusion power plants might be within reach, a development that would help accelerate the move away from energy sources that cause pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Big Read

Food Waste Costs U.S. Taxpayers Billions Of Dollars A Year

Every year, $400 billion ends up in dumpsters, and because it cuts into corporate profits, companies can treat it as tax deductible. Read more here.

Discoveries And Innovations

New research shows that smoke from large fires can spread over hundreds or even thousands of miles, causing air pollution that impacts people’s health.

Biotech firm Vaxa uses geothermal energy to grow algae that can be converted into protein and omega-3s for food production purposes–and the company says the whole process is carbon negative.

Light pollution in urban areas influences the growing season of plants, which could delay their ability to protect themselves from frost and disrupt ecosystems.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week

American-Australian packaging company Amcor is collaborating with the Minderoo Foundation for a $300 million investment in building new plastic recycling plans around the world, starting in the Netherlands, Brazil and Indonesia.

Natural gas producer CNX has signed a fifteen-year agreement with Newlight Technologies to capture waste methane that normally would be vented into the atmosphere and instead use it to produce a biodegradable form of plastic for a variety of applications.


San Francisco-based AI company Aquabyte, founded by Forbes 30 Under 30 alum Bryton Shang, has raised a $25 million series B round. The financing is geared towards expanding the company’s product offering, an AI system used for fish farmers to manage the health of their fish.

On The Horizon

The United Nations predicts that by November of this year, the global population will hit 8 billion people, just 11 years after the Earth’s population hit 7 billion.

What Else We’re Reading This Week

Can Reengineered Aluminum Help Fill the Demand for Copper? (Wired)

Catching Fire: Past efforts to coax geothermal energy from hot, dry rock deep underground have faltered. But new techniques could crack the problem (Science)

Why NASA is sending a dust-scanning spectrometer to the ISS (Popular Science)

Green Transportation Update

The electric vehicle revolution is shifting into high gear in the U.S. with battery-powered models accounting for 5% of new U.S. vehicle sales in the first of 2022 and rapid growth expected through the end of the decade. To meet that demand, auto and parts manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars into new production capacity. Panasonic Energy, Tesla’s long-time battery partner that’s already made billions of lithium-ion cells in the U.S., is bringing the EV party to the prairies of Kansas with plans for a massive $4 billion battery plant in De Soto, in suburban Kansas City. When completed the factory will employ 4,000 people and create a total of 8,000 new jobs, including at suppliers.

The Big Transportation Story

VW And Audi To Recycle EV Batteries Through Tesla Cofounder’s Company

Metals and materials needed to make electric car batteries are expensive and not always mined in the most environmentally sensitive way. To ensure the EV movement is as sustainable as possible, recycling and reusing the lithium, cobalt, nickel and other materials in the batteries is vital. Redwood Materials, a fast-growing battery recovery company started by Tesla cofounder JB Straubel, has added Volkswagen and its luxury Audi unit as new partners and begun collecting used battery packs from their U.S. dealers. The brands join Toyota, Ford and Volvo Cars in signing on to work with Redwood, which hopes to revolutionize EV battery recycling. Read more here.

More Green Transportation News

Cummins Promotes Jennifer Rumsey To CEO As Diesel Giant Seeks Cleantech Overhaul

EV Update: Toyota Reaches Tax Credit Phaseout, GM Refunds Bolt Price Cuts To Current Owners

Fuel, EV Prices Headed In Opposite Directions

GM and Pilot Company to Build Out Coast-to-Coast EV Fast Charging Network

EV Makers Are Gaining Ground On Tesla As Chinese Rivals Loom

For More Sustainability Coverage, Click Here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.