Can a chocolate company help win a bid to turn a coal plant into a theme park? Why did the Germans build a super sun? These, and more in this week’s biggest climate innovation stories.
Halve carbon emissions each decade to combat warming, say scientists.
Scientists in Stockholm have set out a clear approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions – to halve emissions each decade until 2050. After 2020, a carbon price would be set at €46, rising to some €367 per tonne in 2050. It would lead to the end of coal being used for energy by 2035 and oil by 2045.
Post-fossil city finalists share visions of a sustainable future
Utrecht University Urban Futures Studio has announced ten finalists for its Post-Fossil City Contest. The contest called for the design of a sustainable city. One concept allows you to “tap your own milk from a cow around the corner.”
How L’Oréal is turning itself into a sustainability leader
French cosmetics giant L’Oreal claims to have increased production by 29 per cent while cutting emissions by two-thirds in ten years.
Its strategy includes sourcing materials from plants rather than fossil fuels; tightening transit routes to reduce transport emissions; converting manufacturing facilities to run on renewables; reducing waste water in production with on-site treatment; and re-engineering packaging.
Britvic develops sustainable wood fibre bottle
Drinks company Britvic has concluded tests to create fully-recyclable packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable wood fibre materials.
Chief supply chain officer Clive Hooper said: “We’re now working hard to take our learnings from the fibre bottle to investigate fibre-based sustainable packaging materials further.””
Germany increased electric car charging points 27 per cent in 2016
Germany now has almost 7,500 charging points. Of those added in 2016, 292 units were fast-charging (direct current) points that can recharge an electric car in minutes.
Last year, Germany saw the number of electric cars grow at a similar rate, up 29 per cent to 77,153.
Why did the Germans build a super sun?
German scientists have built a “super sun” near Cologne in the hope of more efficiently extracting hydrogen for use as a renewable fuel.
The new “sun” heats metal, which absorbs oxygen from water vapour, leaving hydrogen behind. Researchers hope to run the experiment from solar power in future to ensure the hydrogen production is completely carbon neutral.
World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train aces maiden voyage
Train company Alstom has performed the first tests of what it claims is the world’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train in Germany, running at 80km per hour. It expects passenger pilots 2018 and plans to use wind energy to produce the hydrogen fuel needed in the future.
Artist recycles leaf waste into biodegradable Beleaf chair
A Slovakian artist studying in Czechia has come up with an alternative to plastic furnishing – a chair made from leaf matter and leftover cooking oil. If the seat breaks it can be used to fertilise a tree, whose leaves can be used to create a new chair.
Scientists develop orange peel to filter wastewater
Spanish researchers have used waste orange and grapefruit peel to filter out pollutants from wastewater. The peels were dehydrated and treated to enable them to filter out the metals in a way that could compete with current carbon filters.
Renewables start-up Vandebron bids €1 million on Dutch coal power plant
Dutch renewables start-up Vandebron has bid €1 million for an Amsterdam coal power plant, with the aim of shutting it down and converting it into a theme park. The plant emits roughly the same amount of CO2 as 1.3 million cars.
The bid was rejected immediately, but events are moving quickly, with the municipality of Amsterdam doubling the bid and national Dutch chocolate company Tony Chocolonely offering another €1 million. Vandebron has launched a petition to overturn the rejected bid.