Valmont Industries | November 11, 2022
Valmont Industries, Inc., a global leader that provides vital infrastructure and advances agricultural productivity while driving innovation through technology, is pleased to announce that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the company a nationwide Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) waiver. The BVLOS waiver gives Valmont the ability to fly their multi-hour capable unmanned drones for commercial inspections of utility lines across the nation at a moment’s notice, eliminating the need to wait for geographic approval from the FAA. In addition to the removal of the geographic restriction, the entire diverse fleet of Valmont’s unmanned aerial systems were included. nThis nationwide waiver goes hand in hand with the primary goal of Valmont providing our customers more efficient and timely service through technology,” says Angi Chamberlain, vice president UAS Technology Services for Valmont. “Using drone technology allows us to reduce costs and provide an improved alternative to manned aviation.
Using drone technology allows Valmont to collect high-resolution images and infrastructure performance data safely and quickly. It also opens the door to future waivers as the company moves toward a completely autonomous solution.
“To our knowledge, we are one of the first five entities to receive this waiver arrangement,” We see this as a clear endorsement from the FAA, acknowledging that Valmont has the right people, training, technology and a proven history for continuous advancement of operational innovation.”
Aaron Schapper, Valmont group president Infrastructure
About Valmont Industries, Inc.
For over 75 years, Valmont® has been a global leader in creating vital infrastructure and advancing agricultural productivity. Today, we remain committed to doing more with less by innovating through technology.
United Airlines | November 16, 2022
Today, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) announced a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels (NEXT), which is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. NEXT is a Houston-based company developing the biorefinery which, at full production, could produce up to 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels. UAV could invest as much as $37.5 million into NEXT, as long as the company meets certain milestone targets.
"Right now, one of the biggest barriers to increasing supply and lowering costs of sustainable fuel is that we don't have the infrastructure in place to transport it efficiently, but NEXT's strategic location and assets solve that problem and provide a blueprint for future facilities that need to be built, We believe this investment will not only bolster NEXT's ambitions and create near-term solutions to expand our SAF supply, but further demonstrates our commitment toward producing SAF at the scale necessary to decarbonize the aviation industry."
Michael Leskinen, President of United Airline Ventures.
NEXT's biorefinery offers several unique benefits including access to a deep-water port, an existing industrial-grade dock, and multi-modal logistics options, which facilitates access to feedstock options and fast-growth SAF offtake markets on the west coast. NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock, further de-risking supply issues smaller facilities have historically experienced. NEXT has also received a crucial air permit from the State of Oregon. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies. The clean fuels industry is taking off and our access to feedstocks, multi-modal distribution, and major industry players positions us to be a leading SAF supplier on the West Coast," said Christopher Efird, CEO and Chairperson of NEXT. "United's investment in NEXT strengthens our resolve to be one of the clean fuels leaders in the transportation sector. Today's announcement marks UAV's fifth SAF-related technology investment, and its first investment directly in a biorefinery. United has been an industry leader in advocating for alternative jet fuel for years – including investing in more SAF production than any other airline in the world and flying the world's first passenger flight using 100% SAF in one engine. United also launched the Eco-Skies Alliance program, which among its 30 corporate participants, has collectively purchased more than 7 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel. Launched in 2021, UAV is a first-of-its-kind sustainability-focused ventures fund that targets startups, upcoming technologies, and concepts that will complement United's goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets such as voluntary offsets or planting trees. To date, UAV's portfolio includes SAF producers and other companies advancing technologies including carbon utilization, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis.
United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." From our U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers. United is bringing back our customers' favorite destinations and adding new ones on its way to becoming the world's best airline.
Archer | November 17, 2022
Archer Aviation Inc., a leader in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and E-One Moli Energy Corp. (Molicel), an industry-leading supplier of lithium-ion battery cells, today announced they have entered into a memorandum of understanding for Molicel to manufacture and supply the battery cells for Archer’s production electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Midnight. Archer is focused on building an aircraft tailored to the needs of intra-city travel, optimizing its Midnight aircraft to perform back-to-back short distance flights of about 20 miles with approximately 10-minute charging cycles in-between. Batteries are an important consideration in achieving Midnight’s desired payload, range and charging time. The ability to operate eVTOL aircraft in dense, urban environments requires state-of-the-art, reliable battery cells that can deliver high power, low impedance and fast charging capabilities. Molicel’s advanced battery technology and fast growing production capacity make them an ideal partner for Archer as it continues on its ramp to commercialization. Last year, Molicel announced plans to establish its first Gigafactory in Taiwan, which is scheduled to ramp up production in 2023. The facility will have the capacity to produce 1.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery capacity annually. Molicel's high-performance cells also offer a significant cycle life when utilized in Archer's battery pack and, as a result, reduce the long-term operating cost for its Midnight production aircraft. Partnering with a world-class battery supplier that can reliably manufacture cells at scale, allows Archer to reduce its certification risk, as well as its development timelines and costs.
“Molicel understands that safety and reliability are paramount but that we still must ensure we are living up to our shared values of social responsibility and sustainability, We’re proud to leverage Molicel’s 40+ years of high volume manufacturing experience in the battery industry to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry and further Archer’s mission to unlock the skies - freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time.”
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO.
With this relationship with Molicel, Archer continues its push towards commercialization. Archer now has more than 64% of its suppliers for its bill-of-materials selected, including many global leaders in the design, development and manufacturing of aircraft components. Molicel is devoted to work as battery cells’ key partner for leading players in eVTOL application. By the collaboration with Archer today, it shows a good model that our high performance power cell technology, state-of-the-art commercial production capabilities and expansion plans are key values that we add on to partners. We hope to see the great impact that Midnight will introduce to the marketplace technology wise, safety wise and most importantly, to prove a profitable business model which a new technology can offer to the world while being sustainable and responsible for the environment, said Casey Shiue, President of Molicel.
Molicel’s 40 years of industry leading experience in the battery industry, as well as its fast growing production capacity, were decisive factors in Archer’s decision to select Molicel to supply batteries for Midnight. Molicel focuses on demanding, high-performance applications of its batteries, with its technology already in use across space, advanced automotive and power tool applications.
Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Archer's team is based in Santa Clara, CA. To learn more, visit www.archer.com.
With over 40 years’ rechargeable lithium-ion knowhow and innovative technology research and development, MOLICEL® is famous for its excellent power density product which presents high discharge and fast charge capability balanced with good energy density. The company has been recognized as the first choice for world leading makers in applications such as sports car/motorcycle, VTOL, aerospace and heavy-duty tools. MOLICEL®’s R&D and engineers hold core competences in material research, cell design and advanced manufacturing along with testing capability. These four cornerstones make this medium size but tech-leading cell maker stands in a very competitive position in the market. MOLICEL® belongs to the energy business of Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC). TCC is the first listing company in Taiwan stock market. The group has business units in the field of power plant, renewable energy and BESS.