Author: Govind Bhutada

Visualizing the New Era of Energy


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Surge Battery Metals
new era of energy

The New Era of Energy

Energy is the pulse of our daily lives, powering everything from our homes to our cars and electronic gadgets. 

Over the last two decades, there’s been an ongoing shift in how we produce and consume energy, largely due to rising climate awareness among both governments and consumers.

The above infographic from Surge Battery Metals highlights the increasing uptake of clean energy technologies and explains the need for the raw materials that power them. This is part two of three infographics in the Energy Independence Series.

The Growth of Clean Energy

Government policies, falling production costs, and climate consciousness have all contributed to the exponential adoption of green energy technologies. 

For example, only a few countries were actively encouraging EV adoption a decade ago, but today, millions of consumers can take advantage of EV tax concessions and purchase subsidies with governments committed to phasing out internal combustion engines. Partly as a result, electric vehicles (EVs) are well on their way to mainstream adoption. 

Here’s a look at how the number of electric cars on the road has grown since 2011, including both battery EVs and plug-in hybrids:

Country/Region2011 Electric Car Stock2021 Electric Car Stock
China10,0007,800,000
Europe20,0005,500,000
U.S.20,0002,000,000
Other20,0001,100,000
Total70,00016,400,000

In (Read more...)

Visualizing 10 Years of Global EV Sales by Country


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ev sales by country

Visualizing 10 Years of Global EV Sales by Country

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In 2011, around 55,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold around the world. 10 years later in 2021, that figure had grown close to 7 million vehicles.

With many countries getting plugged into electrification, the global EV market has seen exponential growth over the last decade. Using data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), this infographic shows the explosion in global EV sales since 2011, highlighting the countries that have grown into the biggest EV markets.

The Early EV Days

From 2011 to 2015, global EV sales grew at an average annual rate of 89%, with roughly one-third of global sales occurring in the U.S. alone.

YearTotal EV SalesCAGR
201155,414-
2012132,013138.2%
2013220,34366.9%
2014361,15763.9%
2015679,23588.0%
Total sales / Avg growth1,448,16289.3%

In 2014, the U.S. was the largest EV market followed by China, the Netherlands, Norway, and France. But things changed in 2015, when China’s EV sales grew by 238% relative to 2014, propelling it to the top spot.

China’s growth had been years in the making, with the government offering generous subsidies for electrified cars, in addition to incentives and policies that encouraged production. In 2016, Chinese consumers (Read more...)

Visualizing the History of Energy Transitions


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History of Energy Transitions

The History of Energy Transitions

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Over the last 200 years, how we’ve gotten our energy has changed drastically⁠.

These changes were driven by innovations like the steam engine, oil lamps, internal combustion engines, and the wide-scale use of electricity. The shift from a primarily agrarian global economy to an industrial one called for new sources to provide more efficient energy inputs.

The current energy transition is powered by the realization that avoiding the catastrophic effects of climate change requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This infographic provides historical context for the ongoing shift away from fossil fuels using data from Our World in Data and scientist Vaclav Smil.

Coal and the First Energy Transition

Before the Industrial Revolution, people burned wood and dried manure to heat homes and cook food, while relying on muscle power, wind, and water mills to grind grains. Transportation was aided by using carts driven by horses or other animals.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the prices of firewood and charcoal skyrocketed due to shortages. These were driven by increased consumption from both households and industries as economies grew and became more sophisticated.

Consequently, industrializing economies like the UK needed a new, cheaper source of energy. They turned to coal, marking the beginning of the (Read more...)

Breaking Down the Cost of an EV Battery Cell


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The cost of a lithium-ion battery cell

Breaking Down the Cost of an EV Battery Cell

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As electric vehicle (EV) battery prices keep dropping, the global supply of EVs and demand for their batteries are ramping up.

Since 2010, the average price of a lithium-ion (Li-ion) EV battery pack has fallen from $1,200 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to just $132/kWh in 2021.

Inside each EV battery pack are multiple interconnected modules made up of tens to hundreds of rechargeable Li-ion cells. Collectively, these cells make up roughly 77% of the total cost of an average battery pack, or about $101/kWh.

So, what drives the cost of these individual battery cells?

The Cost of a Battery Cell

According to data from BloombergNEF, the cost of each cell’s cathode adds up to more than half of the overall cell cost.

EV Battery Cell Component% of Cell Cost
Cathode51%
Manufacturing and depreciation24%
Anode12%
Separator7%
Electrolyte4%
Housing and other materials3%

Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Why Are Cathodes so Expensive?

The cathode is the positively charged electrode of the battery. When a battery is discharged, both electrons and positively-charged molecules (the eponymous lithium ions) flow from the anode to the cathode, which stores both until the battery is charged again.

That means (Read more...)

Comparing the Carbon Footprint of Transportation Options


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Carbon footprint of transportation

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The Briefing

  • Flying domestically and driving alone are the most carbon-intensive travel methods
  • Taking a train instead of a short flight could reduce your emissions by 84%

The Carbon Footprint of Transportation

As concern about climate change has grown, individuals are becoming increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment.

Transportation emissions often make up the largest portion of our individual carbon footprints. For that reason, evaluating transport options is a natural place to start, whether it is for a daily commute or a leisure trip abroad.

So, what’s the most eco-friendly way to go from one place to another?

The above infographic charts the carbon footprint of transportation per passenger-kilometer for different vehicles based on data from the UK Government’s methodology paper for greenhouse gas reporting.

Editor’s note: Because the original labels in the study are very UK-specific, we have changed the copy of some of the labels to better suit an international audience.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: How Carbon Footprints Compare

The carbon footprint of transportation is measured in grams of carbon dioxide (CO (Read more...)

Ranked: The Top 10 Countries by Energy Transition Investment


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Energy transition investment

Ranked: The Top 10 Countries by Energy Transition Investment

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More than 130 countries have set or are considering a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Achieving net-zero on a global scale, however, requires $125 trillion in climate investment by 2050, according to research commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

While that level of investment hasn’t been achieved yet, it’s ramping up. In 2021, the world spent $755 billion on deploying low-carbon energy technologies, up 27% from the year prior.

This graphic highlights the top 10 countries by low-carbon energy investment in 2021 using data from BloombergNEF.

Energy Transition Investment by Country

The top 10 countries together invested $561 billion in the energy transition, nearly three-fourths of the world total.

Country2021 Energy Transition Investment (US$)% of World Total
China ??$266B35.2%
U.S. ??$114B15.1%
Germany ??$47B6.2%
U.K. ??$31B4.1%
France ??$27B3.6%
Japan ??$26B3.4%
India ??$14B1.9%
South Korea ??$13B1.7%
Brazil ??$12B1.6%
Spain ??$11B1.5%
Total$561B74.3%

China increased its overall energy transition investment by 60% from 2020 levels, further cementing its position as a global leader. The country’s wind and solar capacity increased by 19% in 2021, with electrified transport also accounting for a large portion of the investment.

(Read more...)

Charted: $5 Trillion in Fossil Fuel Subsidies


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Fossil fuel subsidies

Charted: $5 Trillion in Fossil Fuel Subsidies (2010-2021)

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With energy consumption vital for life and business, governments often look to fossil fuel subsidies to make energy as affordable as possible.

These subsidies artificially reduce the price of fossil fuels and generally take two forms:

  • Production subsidies occur when governments provide tax cuts or direct payments that reduce the cost of producing coal, oil, or gas.
  • Consumption subsidies cut fuel prices for the end-user through price controls and other such measures.

Each year, governments around the world pour nearly half a trillion dollars into fossil fuel subsidies. This chart breaks down a decade of fossil fuel consumption subsidies by energy source using data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Breaking Down Fossil Fuel Consumption Subsidies

Since 2010, governments have spent over $5 trillion in fossil fuel consumption subsidies. The majority of this sum went towards making oil more affordable, as seen below:

Subsidies by Year (US$)OilElectricityNatural GasCoalTotal
2010$203.0B$143.5B$113.6B$2.7B$462.9B
2011$263.7B$147.2B$100.4B$3.6B$514.0B
2012$304.0B$149.9B$132.2B$3.3B$589.5B
2013$300.0B$132.8B$119.1B$1.7B$553.6B
2014$262.4B$124.1B$104.2B$1.1B$491.9B
2015$147.3B$119.2B$83.6B$1.5B$351.5B
2016$110.2B$132.8B$56.7B$2.2B$301.9B
2017$153.5B$136.2B$65.2B$2.7B$357.6B
2018 (Read more...)

Ranked: Nuclear Power Production, by Country


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Nuclear power production by country

Nuclear Power Production by Country

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Nearly 450 reactors around the world supply various nations with nuclear power, combining for about 10% of the world’s electricity, or about 4% of the global energy mix.

But while some countries are turning to nuclear as a clean energy source, nuclear energy generation overall has seen a slowdown since its peak in the 1990s.

The above infographic breaks down nuclear electricity generation by country in 2020 using data from the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).

Ranked: The Top 15 Countries for Nuclear Power

Just 15 countries account for more than 91% of global nuclear power production. Here’s how much energy these countries produced in 2020:

RankCountryNumber of Operating ReactorsNuclear Electricity Supplied
[GWh]
% share
#1U.S. ??96789,91930.9%
#2China ??50344,74813.5%
#3France ??58338,67113.3%
#4Russia ??39201,8217.9%
#5South Korea ??24152,5836.0%
#6Canada ??1992,1663.6%
#7Ukraine ??1571,5502.8%
#8Germany ??660,9182.4%
#9Spain ??755,8252.2%
#10Sweden ??747,3621.9%
#11U.K. ??1545,6681.8%
#12Japan ??3343,0991.7%
#13India ??2240,3741.6%
#14Belgium ??732,7931.3%
#15Czechia ??628,3721.1%
Rest of the World ?44207,3408.1%
Total4482,553,208100.0%

(Read more...)

The Top 10 Semiconductor Companies by Market Share


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


semiconductor companies

The Briefing

  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. accounts for 54% of the global market share
  • Taiwan, South Korea, and China combine for 87% of the semiconductor market

The Top 10 Semiconductor Companies by Market Share

Semiconductors are an essential component of the microchips that power virtually every modern electronic device. As the objects around us get “smarter” and demand for electronics grows around the world, the demand for semiconductors will continue to skyrocket.

So, which companies currently make these chips, and where are they located?

The above infographic uses data from TrendForce to break down the top 10 semiconductor companies by country and market share.

The Biggest Semiconductor Companies

Before diving into the companies, it’s important to have context on their business. Also known as foundries, these semiconductor companies specialize in the fabrication or production of chips. “Fabless” chip makers—companies that design their chips and supply hardware but do not have fabrication plants—outsource chip production to foundries, primarily in Asia.

Taiwan, China, and South Korea combine for roughly 87% of the global foundry market. Here’s how it breaks down:

CompanyMarket shareCountry
TSMC54%Taiwan ??
Samsung17%South Korea ??
UMC7%Taiwan ??
GlobalFoundries7%U.S. ??
SMIC5%China ??
HH Grace1%China ??
PSMC1%Taiwan ??
VIS1%Taiwan ??
DB HiTek1%China ??
Tower Semiconductor1%Israel ??
Other firms5%N/A

TSMC, short for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is by far the world’s largest chip manufacturer. It’s also the sixth most valuable company in the world with a market cap (Read more...)