The industrial sustainability It stopped being an empty argument and became a well-founded project that seeks to protect the environment. This way of doing business pursues carbon neutrality in each operation.
Honeywell is a North American firm based in Argentina that promotes technological projects based on renewable energy. Thus, he developed three prototypes of batteries that They do not pollute or are dangerous.
“If we do not make the transition, if we do not take all economies to net zero, we are going to have many problems worldwide. The solution is that you have to electrify everything you can and change the things you can’t to a fuel that has no greenhouse gas emissions,” commented Gavin Towler, vice president and chief technology officer at Honeywell.
Under this premise, the company adjusted all its consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems, to reduce in 2024 its direct emissions (type 1) and indirect (2), by an additional 10% compared to 2018 levels.
A pressing problem
Industrial activity has increased, especially in the last century, the temperature of the planet and modified the climate. This produced a drastic increase in the volume of greenhouse gases.
The rule states that the higher its concentration, the more heat will be trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. The biggest driver of global warming is carbon dioxide (CO2) and is linked to the burning of fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas.
In this sense, Towler stressed that “sustainability is the greatest challenge of our species. This year we have had climate disasters and they will become more and more frequent. Companies know they have to act. But this change cannot be faced by a single person.”
This company’s solutions prevented the potential emission into the atmosphere of the equivalent of 326 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to eliminating emissions of more than 755 million of barrels of oil consumed.
One of Honeywell’s programs consists of the development of solutions for safety in electric vehicles, with sensors that can detect and in the future prevent and predict fires and failures in the units.
Another example is the technology to distill sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is generated from the circularity of plastic. The other axis is flow batteries to store large amounts of energy.
Cars with gas leaks
Global sales of electric vehicles (EV) continue to rise, with 10 million units shipped in 2022 and expected growth of 35% by the end of this year.
The growing adoption of EVs and increased production of lithium-ion batteries bring with them some safety concerns and high levels of pollution.
These batteries can cause incidents of “thermal runaway” – a phenomenon in which the current flowing through the cell is overloaded and causes the cell temperature to rise – resulting in intense and prolonged electrical fires.
While the incident in gasoline vehicles is controlled in minutes, in EVs it can last for hours and require many liters of water to extinguish them. In most cases, vehicle destruction It’s total.
“Electric vehicles are fundamental to the future of transportation. However, sustainability cannot compromise safety” comments Victor Verissimo, general manager of electrification at Honeywell.
Battery safety sensors, which are built into EVs from the factory, detect any risk of thermal runaway, alerting passengers that something is wrong and overheating is occurring.
Through an alliance with Nexceris, it developed a lithium-ion gas detector. This early intervention can help prevent costly property damage or, worse, driver injuries.
Long range drones
The search for decarbonized solutions made hydrogen a potential candidate in various sectors, such as transportation, on-site energy and general energy supply.
This chemical element is expected to play a critical role in future mobility systems, offering efficient, long-range and fast-charging options.
Honeywell joined forces with the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create a prototype hydrogen storage system in the form of a cartridge for drones.
The project, known as Fuel Additives for Solid Hydrogen (FLASH) Carriers in Electric Aviation, aims to not only develop the technology but also explore ways to commercialize the cartridges.
The idea is to apply the technology to long-range, heavy-lift unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The majority operate with internal combustion engines, which generate more noise and emissions than electric propulsion.
The other limitation of electric batteries is that they can limit the autonomy of the drone because they must be charged, on average, every 25 minutes.
Although most hydrogen-derived fuel is stored in gas or liquid form, the intention is to design a mechanism to store solid hydrogen.
The material could be burned quickly to produce the gaseous form of the element, allowing UAV fuel cells to convert it into electrical energy.
As the world moves towards clean and sustainable energy sources, the need for efficient storage systems that ensure the uninterrupted supply of energy from renewable sources becomes crucial.
A flow battery is a type of battery where recharging is provided by two chemical components, dissolved in liquids contained within the system and separated by a membrane.
Honeywell’s battery uses safe and non-flammable technology through an electrolyte that converts chemical energy into electricity and stores it for later use.
The main advantage is that it stores energy without the need for wind or sunlight. It can retain energy for 12 hours, exceeding the life of lithium-ion batteries that can only discharge 4 hours.
The battery is designed with recyclable components and does not degrade over time, maintaining system performance, providing a reliable and cost-effective system for up to 20 years.
“Half of the company’s new product research and development investment is directed toward products that improve the environmental and social outcomes of our customers and the communities in which we work,” highlighted Nicholas Bridge, director, R&D UOP Technologies of Honeywell.