Elon Musk built two industrial behemoths—
and SpaceX, revolutionizing two industries along the way. But that’s not all he did to change the global industry.
Musk also gave manufacturing companies a new word: gigafactory.
The working definition of a gigafactory is a larger, modern manufacturing facility for products designed to reduce global carbon emissions.
Latest example of gigafactory adoption comes from hydrogen tech company
Connect the power
(ticker: PLUG). “Welcome to the Rochester Innovation Center, home to the world’s first and largest [proton exchange membrane] gigafactory fuel cell and electrolyzer, ”said a spokesperson for Plug at the company’s hydrogen symposium on Thursday.
However, Plug does not manufacture battery electric vehicles like Tesla (TSLA). Plug is trying to disrupt the heavy trucking industry by replacing diesel fuel and engines with hydrogen gas and fuel cells.
However, other automakers have followed Tesla’s lead. Earlier in 2021,
(VOW.Germany) said it is building six giga factories in Europe to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
(F), on the other hand, announced in late September that it was building a so-called mega-campus in Tennessee.
Giga is simply a prefix meaning 10 raised to the power of nine, or in other words, followed by nine zeros. So, a gigabyte, for example, equals $ 1 billion. (Elon Musk is worth around two gigabytes.)
The original gigafactory was Tesla’s Nevada Battery Plant, built in partnership with
(6752.Japan). This plant was designed to have the capacity to produce gigawatt hours of battery cells each year to power Tesla electric vehicles. This is probably why the prefix giga has been added to it. (A single gigawatt hour of battery cells can power approximately 10,000 electric vehicles.)
Tesla kept this prefix, and now with giga-Nevada it has giga-Shanghai, giga-Texas, and giga-Berlin.
Electric vehicles and the battery cells that power them are replacing gasoline-powered cars. Electric vehicle batteries are charged with grid electricity, but a good portion of electricity in the United States, about 20%, is now produced using renewable resources such as wind and solar power.
Hydrogen fuel cells like those produced by Plug Power generate electricity using hydrogen gas. Hydrogen does not create greenhouse gases when it is burned or used in a fuel cell. However, if the hydrogen gas is produced by separating the water using one of Plug’s electrolysers, with renewable electricity, no carbon dioxide is emitted along the way.
Carbon dioxide is the main gas responsible for global climate change.
However, coining the term gigafactory probably falls lower on Musk’s resume than on his other accomplishments. He is, of course, CEO of Tesla, which is valued at over $ 800 billion, making it by far the most valuable automaker on the planet.
(TM) is number two, valued at just under $ 300 billion.
And Musk also runs spacecraft company SpaceX, which is valued at $ 100 billion in private markets, making it the world’s fourth most valuable aerospace and defense company, behind.
Write to Al Root at [email protected]