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Doon Insights is pleased to host our first salon-style event on Net-Zero Investing in Auto|Mobility Tech. We will bring together leaders in the auto and mobility sector to discuss how the industry can make real progress towards net-zero carbon emissions. We will cover both macro issues and specific new technologies, business models and strategies that can effect measurable progress for the sector. Attendees will include leading investors, corporates, energy companies, and startups.

Attendees will be by invitation-only and capped at 40 — small enough to fit around one large table. The day will be organized by roundtable discussions on subjects of key importance. Each session will be led by several expert Discussion Leaders, but it is expected that the entire group will contribute to the conversation. 

In addition to presenting very serious content, as is the custom in Bonny Doon the event will be very convivial and social. There will be plenty of breaks so that everyone can meet everyone, and everyone will be worth meeting. The venue is my mountain retreat in Bonny Doon, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a beautiful compound sitting in a clearing in the redwood forest, with gardens and orchards, and overlooking my pond. During breaks guests will be free to walk around the pond and pick fruit from the orchard. At the end of the day we will enjoy a  fine wine/beer reception, live music, and a hearty dinner together.  

We have finalized the program and it is good!

Russia, China and the Impact of Geopolitics on Progress towards Net-Zero 

The move towards EVs, batteries, green fuels, and net-zero operations was already accelerating, and now we have a war in Europe and great volatility in energy prices. This will affect short and long term energy and technology strategies across the industry and government strategies towards transforming energy systems. Europe especially will likely accelerate its pivot away from fossil fuels. Access to several key metals products from Russia and the Ukraine will largely be cut off.

China's sympathy for Russia threatens to worsen its relations with the West, and at the same time, China's reaction to increasing domestic outbreaks of Covid has been to shut down large areas of the country. This does not bode well for China's role as a critical link in global supply chains and a key driver of global demand. Further, China's mobility market is the largest in the world, China is the global leader for EVs and batteries, and China is the world's largest carbon emitter.

How will all of these volatile geopolitical and market factors affect the global industry's march toward net-zero?  

Discussion leaders:

Howard Chao, Doon Insights (moderator)

Nick Sramek, Doon Insights (moderator)

Bill Russo, Automobility Ltd.

Steven Fries, University of Oxford and Peterson Institute

Distributed Flexible Manufacturing 

For the last three decades, traditional manufacturing strategy driven by globalization has emphasized the efficiencies and control that go with scale, centralization, and comparative advantage. For the last few years, however, rising geopolitical tensions, coupled with a global pandemic have exposed the challenges inherent in a global supply chain, causing the pendulum to swing back towards more localized and decentralized production facilities. The growth of machine learning, precision micro-factories, 3D printing, and similar technologies facilitates this trend towards "manufacturing at the edge". These new manufacturing technologies are also beneficial to sustainability; as they can have a lower carbon footprint, reducing transportation costs (monetary and environmental) and utilizing local, clean energy sources for manufacturing.

Discussion leaders:

Jason Wortendyke, Citi (moderator) 

Bruce Graham, Cellink Technologies

Lou Rassey, Fast Radius

Advanced Net-Zero Materials

Steel, like many other traditional materials in the auto/mobility industry is great at what it does – easy to shape when hot and incredibly strong (plus, easy to find in the world). But the carbon dioxide created from steel (1.8 tons for every ton of steel) and other materials has led vehicle manufacturers to search for more environmentally-friendly options. Several obstacles stand in the way to find suitable replacements for materials such as steel, plastic and aluminum – one of which is the stringent safety requirements for a car's exterior. What are manufacturers doing to innovate in materials? Are they betting on more efficient processes that reduce waste and potentially use recycled carbon from waste streams, or are they looking towards completely new materials? At the same time, the steel industry has responded by innovating new low carbon manufacturing processes. How are advanced materials and new processes competing on performance, price and accessibility?

Discussion leaders:

Andrew Harper, Sidley (moderator)

Russ Balzar, World Steel Association 

Phillip Taynton, Mallinda 

Riley Reese, Arris Composites

Green Fuels

Technological developments and the growing availability of alternative power sources now make possible the production of multiple green fuels, both for propulsion and energy storage. What are these new technologies and green fuels and what use cases are they best suited for? How do these developments affect the development of electric vehicles, aviation and related industries?

Discussion leaders:

Raymond Zheng, Honda Innovations (moderator)

Ricky Sakai, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 

Alex Ivanenko, Hypoint

Liz Myers, Infinium

The Future of Public Transportation 

As cities begin to fully reopen after the 2+ year pandemic, public transit systems will be faced with a new set of challenges. Even before COVID, public transportation ridership was static or declining in many parts of the US; the pandemic has seen drastic declines in the use of public transportation, creating another hurdle to move people away from polluting options. What is the road to sustainable public transportation in a post-COVID world? As people continue to urbanize (estimates predict up to 70% global urbanization by 2050), creating public transportation options that are green, safe and affordable will be one of the largest challenges that cities face in the coming decades. How quickly will decarbonization of public transportation vehicles occur? What are the fueling/infrastructure needs to achieve green transportation, and how will regulatory bodies create opportunities for innovation to help? Post-COVID, what does success look like?

Discussion leaders:

Doug Davenport, Prospect Silicon Valley (moderator)

Yvonne Lutsch, Robert Bosch Venture Capital

Shelby Winkler, Cavnue

Jonathan Woetzel, McKinsey & Company

To minimize Covid, we will be requiring all attendees (and service personnel) to provide us with proof of vaccination and negative Covid tests. See our Covid policy at the tab above. We will endeavor to hold all meals and breaks outside in the garden, weather permitting. Fortunately this will permit us to enjoy the scenery and great spring weather in Bonny Doon!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Bonny Doon!

Howard Chao

Doon Insights

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