May 17, 2020

Supply Chain Casts a Shadow on India's Solar Dreams

Supply Chain
India
concentrated solar power
CSP
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Just a little closer...
Nobody knows the sun better than Indians, who enjoy some 300 days of sunshine per year. Given their growing energy needs and the rising specter of clim...

Nobody knows the sun better than Indians, who enjoy some 300 days of sunshine per year.  Given their growing energy needs and the rising specter of climate change, they’re in a perfect position to leverage that advantage – but so far, the supply chain on the sub-continent hasn’t been up to the challenge.

Part of the problem is the nascence of the industry.  The required technology is cutting-edge, and the Indian scientific community has been relying on the assistance of an international brain trust who’ve only themselves begun to work out the kinks of an efficient, large-scale model.

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Even more fundamentally, manufacturing of crucial components hasn’t yet been satisfactorily integrated into the local supply chain.  Indian companies have been forced to go abroad for essential materials, dramatically affecting the viability of a nation-wide investment in solar power.

That’s not to say they’re not trying, and gains have been substantial.  But considering that government planners fully expect the trend to explode – as demographics, energy needs, and environmental fears converge over the industry – it’s the kind of problem that supply chain managers need to address.

Fortunately for climate change activists and air conditioner enthusiasts both, stakeholders seem to have both the will and the way.

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

BoringCompany
supplychain
freight
elonmusk
2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 

 

Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely
 

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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