General Motors ramps up EV production in Canada
General Motors Co (GM) and South Korea’s POSCO Chemical have unveiled plans to build a $400 million facility to produce battery materials in Canada, as part of a push to increase the production of electric vehicles. The construction of the plant will start immediately, and it is expected to be in operation by 2025. This development is expected to create around 200 jobs, providing a great boost to the area.
The plant, in Becancour, Quebec, will produce cathode active material (CAM) for vehicle batteries. Cathodes are the most complex and costly chemical component of an electric vehicle battery, and they account for “about 40% of the cost of every EV battery cell,” according to Scott Bell, GM Canada’s President and Managing Director.
As Canada is rich in key materials needed for EV production, the country is promoting itself as a hub for manufacturers. Canada’s Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said that Becancour will become a hub for the country’s EV battery “ecosystem.” More “good news” is on the way, Champagne said, noting that there were “very live discussions” under way about building a battery factory in Canada.
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Sailors and global supply chain at risk due to conflict in Ukraine
The conflict in Ukraine has severely damaged the shipping industry in the Black Sea, causing problems for international transport. Dozens of cargo ships are stranded at the port of Mykolaiv and sailors face a great risk to life, as an estimated 3,500 personnel have been struck on 200 ships at Ukrainian ports, according to shipping trackers. Maritime historians have said that more ships are stranded around the globe than at any port since World War II.
In the Black Sea and the adjoining Sea of Azov, which are key commodity export routes, Ukrainian port authorities have reported five tankers and cargo ships that have been struck by missiles. These vessels come from Japan, Turkey, Moldova and Estonia, ferrying cargoes including diesel, clay, and grain. This is damaging global supply chains, which had already been hurt by two years of pandemic-induced disruptions.
The fifth merchant ship to be hit by artillery off Ukraine’s coast killed one crew member and left several others with serious burns. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization warned that there is a high risk of collateral damage for any ships in the Black Sea. The International Maritime Organization said that it would hold an emergency meeting to address the war’s impact on shipping following requests from numerous governments.
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Biden proposes new emission rules as part of ‘Clean Trucks Plan’
The Biden Administration is looking to enforce strict new emissions regulations for large trucks that have been operating for over a decade. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to cut nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty trucks by roughly 90% below current standards, with the new rules hoped to be in place as soon as 2027.
Heavy-duty trucks contribute to the pollution of nitrogen oxide, a poisonous gas. The trucks account for 37% of total nitrogen oxide emissions emitted by vehicles traveling at highway speeds, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. As well as this proposal, the agency said it is also planning in the near future to update greenhouse-gas emission rules for trucks.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that “these new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry.” However, some are not satisfied with the announcement, as Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz said the EPA’s proposal “falls short of what environmental justice communities have been demanding.”
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