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Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

Used Cars, Why Not Used Batteries?

June 30th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

As electric vehicles rapidly grow in popularity worldwide, there will soon be a wave of used batteries whose performance is no longer sufficient for vehicles that need reliable acceleration and range. A new study shows that these batteries could still have a useful and profitable second life as backup storage for grid-scale solar photovoltaic installations, where they could perform for more than a decade in this less demanding role. The study, published in the journal Applied Energy, was carried out by six current and former MIT researchers.

As a test case, the researchers examined in detail a hypothetical grid-scale solar farm in California. They studied the economics of several scenarios: building a 2.5-megawatt solar farm alone; building the same array along with a new lithium-ion battery storage system; and building it with a battery array made of repurposed EV batteries that had declined to 80 percent of their original capacity, the point at which they would be considered too weak for continued vehicle use. Check out the entire study here.

DOT IS WORKING TO PREVENT SPREAD OF COVID-19

June 23rd, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

The Department of Transportation plays an active part in the United States Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, DOT helps support the Administration’s efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, and ensure continuation of critical infrastructure support and relief for the American people.

Check out the additional resources on how the Department is responding to COVID-19. The safety of our transportation networks is vital to maintaining economic durability and the free flow of essential supplies, food, fuel, and medical equipment. Response measures implemented by the Department to date have included stakeholder outreach and guidance, expanded federal assistance, and regulatory relief. This page will be updated on a regular basis as new information and resources become available.

Making Napa Winery Tours a Virtual Reality

June 16th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In a recent issue of the Napa Valley Register, Sarah Klearman wrote about a new development during the COVID pandemic: “There was not a single visitor at Schramsberg Vineyards. No one gazed over the legions of sun-warmed vineyards or into the thick wilderness that surrounds the storied property, which had bloated with green in the late-season rain.” Sarah goes on to say that “It all seemed a shame to Geoffrey Curley. And as it so happened, he was in a position to do something about it. A decade ago, he founded his own company — Geoffrey M. Curley and Associates — and set to work creating interactive exhibits often punctuated by 360-degree virtual experiences. As travel came to a standstill and tasting rooms closed their doors, Curley wondered if the technology might be of use to the broader American wine industry.”

“There had been some discussion internally a while ago about having this kind of virtual tour, where you could see the path of a visit,” Schramsberg President Hugh Davies said. “Maybe not surprisingly in this particular moment of a more virtual reality, when they contacted us, we kind of jumped at it.”

All of the wineries Curley has so far worked with, apart from Schramsberg, are boutique producers. Some, like Dos Lagos Vineyards, make as few as 800 cases each year. “It sounds pretty fascinating, the idea of virtual tours,” Dos Lagos Owner Tom Dinkel said, noting that many of the winery’s club members, cooped up in their homes, have expressed a desire to return to the valley once life normalizes. A virtual tour, Dinkel said, could help transport not just existing club members, but perhaps catch the eye of newcomers online. Sarah explains that “Boutique wineries have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s impact on tourism. Tasting rooms account on average of 28% of sales for small wineries; they also serve as conduits for wine club membership, which on average accounts for an additional 23% of sales. Wineries producing between 1,000 and 5,000 cases could lose as much as 48% of their revenue for the year, according to one estimate. “Once people try the wine, it speaks for itself,” Dos Lagos’ Dinkel said. “But so many people don’t know who we are. So if someone’s searching for ‘Napa wines’ and they find our virtual experience and like what they see — we’re hoping for that kind of exposure.”

Virtual tastings, as popular as they’ve become, bring only the wine to the consumer — not necessarily the experience tied to the wine. The virtual tour could fill that void, Davies said. “In a unique way, this may attract people,” he added. “But we know nothing we are going to be able to do is going to attract everyone the same way.”

“We’re taking that physical interaction out of these experiences, but still trying to tell those stories, generating that emotional response to the people who are creating the wines,” Curley said. “The work that vintners do, their families, the landscape — that’s in every bottle as much as the wine itself.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our stainless steel wine barrels are more attractive than ever. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

DGS Symposium on Dangerous Goods will now be Virtual and Free!

May 26th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Hosted annually by Labelmaster, this year’s DGS Symposium (Sept 9 – 11, 2020) was planned for Chicago. However, due to the social-distancing mandates that will be imposed during the autumn months, they have decided to create the industry’s first virtual Dangerous Goods Symposium that will include live streaming panels and 1:1 conversations, on-demand regulatory updates and more featuring the most sought-after DG experts.

From your home, you will be able to attend:

  • Live Q&A sessions and panels with industry and regulatory leaders scheduled at specific days and times between September 9th and September 11th
  • On demand regulatory update presentations for viewing on whatever day and time is best for you
  • Live streaming small group sessions, based on industry or interest
  • Private, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders
  • Networking opportunities and games
  • And, it’s FREE

Topics will range from:

  • International and North American regulatory updates
  • PHMSA work session for operations, investigations and looking forward
  • The FBI, Homeland Security and Dangerous Goods
  • Compliance vs. Competence
  • A look at China’s regulatory complexities
  • Technology in transportation
  • Cross generational training: Challenges and opportunities
  • And, of course, Lithium Battery Friday!

Put the Symposium on your calendar for Sept 9- Sept 11, 2020.

Then register to attend at: www.labelmaster.com/symposium Thank you Labelmaster for turning lemons into lemonade!!!

Wine Consumption Has Increased During Lockdown

May 19th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In a press release published in the latest “Wine Industry Advisor” it was reported that: “America’s 77 million regular wine drinkers upped their frequency of wine consumption during the pandemic lockdown, despite the closure of many on-premise establishments.”

The release goes on to say: “The new Wine Intelligence US COVID-19 Impact Report polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 monthly US wine drinkers during March and April 2020 to understand how their wine drinking behavior was changing as a result of the restrictions due to the coronavirus. The findings paint a picture of a nation finding new occasions for wine drinking – at lunchtime, or catching up with friends online, or replacing the trip to the restaurant with a more indulgent evening meal.”

The growing volume of wine purchased was tempered by a small decline in the average price per bottle paid overall, according to the research. However, within this average were significant variations by consumer type. More involved and committed wine drinkers, who mainly spend between $15 and $20 per bottle normally, tended to spend a bit more than usual, while less frequent wine drinkers tended to spend a bit less.

The Wine Intelligence report shows that: “There was a significant growth in online shopping across all age groups, with the most likely users of online channels being younger, urban, affluent consumers. While the majority of respondents said the origin of wine they bought during this period stayed the same, there was a notable shift in purchase preferences towards domestic wines and away from imports. Some 18% of respondents reported buying more wine from California and other US regions during this time, while 20% said they were buying less wine from France, Italy and Spain. Additionally, US wine drinkers increased their trust in California wines. Looking to the future, US wine drinkers on the whole expressed caution about going out to bars and restaurants immediately after lockdown restrictions were ended – around 40% said they would be less likely to visit a restaurant, while 27% said they would be more likely.”

Commenting on the report, Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead said: “Our data supports other evidence that shows that US wine drinking is holding up, and that sales will continue to be solid once lockdown ends. In fact, there are clear opportunities with certain consumer segments right now and also in the medium term as we move to post-lockdown behavior. Looking ahead, the US wine drinker is understandably quite cautious about their household finances and the idea of getting on a plane. Thankfully for the wine category, their intention seems to be replacing big treats like vacations and big events with small treats like a nicer bottle of wine.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our stainless steel wine barrels are more popular than ever. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

Safe Packaging and Transportation of COVID-19 Materials

May 12th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

Infectious substances, such as certain COVID-19 tainted materials, can pose a risk to health, safety, and property if packaged and transported incorrectly. When transporting such materials, it is extremely important to consult PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations to help minimize risk and exposure.

To assist medical facilities, clinical laboratories, and hazardous waste carriers in their efforts to move COVID-19 specimens, cultures, isolates, and medical wastes, PHMSA developed a COVID-19 Quick Reference page that provides guidance on how to package and transport these materials safely.

See PHMSA’s Guidance on Transporting COVID-19 Infectious Substances for more information.