Global Battery Alliance Pledgesto End Child LaborThe Global Battery Alliance (GBA) launched its 2021 Action Pledge to End Child Labor in the Battery Supply Chain, as part of the Alliance 8. 7’s campaign to encourage significant and meaningful actions in the International Yearfor the Elimination of Child Labor.
Child labor in the battery supply chain is an escalating issueas the demand for batteries grows rapidly to contribute to thegoals for a low carbon transition. Lithium-ion batteries dependon access to cobalt and two-thirds of global reserves are locatedin the copper belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), and area often associated with human rights issues including child labor.
Separately, lead-acid batteries constitute approximately 72%of the world’s rechargeable battery capacity (in GWh) for cars,including electric vehicles, industrial batteries, and for off-gridenergy renewable energy storage, especially in developingcountries. The informal sector of lead recycling via unregulated, unlicensed and often illegal economic activity includes significant use of children in the collection and hazardous recovery of lead from batteries, especially in emerging economies.
World’s First Hydrogen Cargo
Vessel Debuts in Paris
Hydrogen is seen by the shipping industry as a key contributor in the efforts to mitigate climate change. Flagships, a European project, had been awarded
EUR 5 million of funding in 2018 from the EU’s Research
and Innovation program Horizon 2020, under the Fuel Cells
and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), to deploy two
hydrogen vessels in France and Norway. The project’s ini-
tial plan was to deploy a hydrogen push-boat in the Lyon,
France, area, but as the broader potential for hydrogen in
cargo transport emerged, the demo pusher was changed to
an inland cargo vessel. A commercial cargo transport vessel
operating on hydrogen will be tasked with moving goods
on pallets and in containers along the on the Seine River,
according to Flagships.
The vessel will operate on compressed hydrogen producedfrom electrolysis, enabling not only zero-emission operationsbut also creating a solid base for more local zero-emissiontransport, both at sea and on land.
Pop-Up eDCs Help WalmartMeet Holiday DemandWith e-commerce becoming ever more popular for holiday shopping due to the pandemic, retail giant Walmart came up with a unique solution to handling the increase in demand. The retailer transformed 42 ofits regional distribution centers (RDCs) to create “pop-up”e-commerce distribution centers (eDCs).
The usual procedure is for the RDCs to ship to stores, butthe company has enhanced its existing supply chain so thatthey can also fulfill online orders.
According to Walmart, the flexibility of the pop-up modelswill help it deal with peak demand situations.
Putting EV Locomotives on Rails
Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corp. has introduced a bat- tery-electric locomotive. The company has teamed up with BNSF Railway to test its battery-powered loco-
motive in revenue service between Barstow and Stockton, Cal-
ifornia. The battery-electric locomotive pilot program is part of
a $22.6 million grant awarded to BNSF and the San Joaquin
Valley Air Pollution Control District from the Zero- and Near
Zero-Emission Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) project by the
California Air Resource Board to pilot several emissions-re-
ducing technologies in and around railyards. The ZANZEFF
project is part of California Climate Invest-
ments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of
cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing green-
house gas emissions.
The Wabtec battery locomotive is projectedto provide operators with 10-30% in fuel savings, which could prove significant since fuelis the second largest operating cost of the class,costing roughly $7 billion per annum. The exact savings will depend on the grade of the trackand the standard deviation.
Wabtec and BNSF are running the tests witha consist sporting the all-electric locomotivesandwiched between Tier 4 locomotives, creating an environment that regenerates electricityto optimize fuel efficiency.
Transforming ForkliftsDigitallyGlobal logistics provider GEODIS part- nered with Phantom Auto to develop a forklift truck that can be controlledfrom a distance. This program is aimed at improving comfort and safety while also creatingjob opportunities for people with physical dis-abilities and others that are historically underrepresented in the logistics industry.
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