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Editorial: A post-Covid world…

Editorial: A post-Covid world…

Efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 have had mixed success and the threat of a new wave of contagion will remain until a vaccine can prevent infection and transmission. Scientists are racing to produce a successful inoculation with more than 160 vaccine efforts in progress worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Several vaccines have completed successful phase 1 trials. One promising vaccine by U.S. biotech firm Moderna has entered the third and final phase of testing in July involving 30,000 participants.

We assume that scientists will eventually gain control of the virus. How the Covid-19 shock will redesign our world is less obvious. Will the environment take a back seat to an economic recovery? Or will a massive government response pre-empt a more rapid transition to new energy?

Inside this issue of F+L Magazine, we consider a post-Covid-19 world. On page 6, we evaluate how Covid-19 has decimated airline travel and what historic self-preservation measures undertaken by airlines mean for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). We also review recently approved SAF production pathways.

A Global Electric Vehicle Outlook scenario projects there could be as many as 245 million electric cars in the worldwide car parc in 10 years. On page 10, we analyse how our Covid-19 response will shape the pace of transition to electric vehicles amid calls for a recovery effort that focuses on vehicle efficiency.

The immediate impact of Covid-19 on the lubricant industry has been pronounced, leaving many companies struggling to balance demand volatility, production, and stocking levels — and how to structure supply chain assets to capture new value opportunities. On page 14, we examine a unique opportunity for independent lubricant manufacturers to capture market share in a declining market.

Vicky DentonWhile some countries pursue net-zero emissions goals, on page 40, we take a reality check as the negative impacts of climate change become more pronounced. Current plans and policies will lead to a global temperature rise of 2.5% in the second half of the century, according to the inaugural Global Renewables Outlook released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Hydrogen is destined to play a central role in the worldwide energy transformation. On page 36, we review the European Commission’s recently published hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe.

On page 22, we look at the opportunity for robust, long-lasting superlubricity in real-world industrial applications. Could superlubricity completely supplant oil as a lubricant in some industries? We speak to Dr. Anirudha Sumant, group leader of nanofabrication and devices at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, a U. S. Department of Energy User Facility at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), a global pioneer in the research of superlubricity.

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