Are freight companies about to get control of their carbon footprint? Could cheap hydrogen support German and Italian buses? And what does Barack Obama think about sustainable land use?
This, and more, in the week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.
Packaging food with food to reduce waste
A growing number of entrepreneurs and researchers are working to turn foods like mushrooms, kelp, milk and tomato peels into edible replacements for plastics, coatings and other packaging materials.
Smart energy stumped by rebound effect
Renovated homes and smart gadgets are part of a broad effort to tackle climate change. But here’s the catch: people seem to relish using their new devices and comforts, often pushing energy consumption up and undermining the effort to reduce emissions of carbon.
Europe’s biggest utilities join blockchain energy trading trial
Some of Europe’s biggest utilities have joined a project to test blockchain-based trades in wholesale power and natural gas markets. Utilities from Enel SpA to RWE AG will start live trading based on blockchain in the fourth quarter, after initial tests in August.
Waste-free living: from gadgets that list themselves on eBay to lidless bottles
Designers have come up with six ideas to reduce waste in our everyday lives, including a “Use Me/Lose Me” service that could upload your unused products to an auction site. Another idea is a DIY plastics recycling station that allows you to recycle household waste into a more useful bowl or clipboard. Other ideas include tabletop composting, fruit protecting plasma, and single-use shampoo pods.
€900,000 smart cities start-up contest launched
Digital Leaders Ventures and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile have launched a new start-up contest on smart cities. The contest is focused on early stage start-ups that are scalable and disruptive. Almost €900,000 will be awarded over three years at ten separate pitch events around the world.
A another smart cities initiative, also launched this week, promises to match cities facing environmental challenges with smart technology.
Electric cars to be cheaper than petrol ones within a decade, says study
Bloomberg New Energy Finance says electric cars will become cheaper than conventional vehicles by 2030. Falling battery costs will mean electric vehicles will also be cheaper to buy in the US and Europe as soon as 2025. Outlining how batteries account for about half the cost of electric vehicles (EVs), BNEF estimate their prices will fall by about 77 per cent between 2016 and 2030.
Food and climate change: we can still act and it won’t be too late
Barack Obama writes that the path to a sustainable food future will require unleashing the creative power of our best scientists, and engineers and entrepreneurs, backed by public and private investment, to deploy new innovations in climate-smart agriculture.
Power sector urged to adopt world’s first investment-grade carbon pricing mechanism
Financial heavyweights including Bank of America, Barclays and Hermes Investment Management have teamed-up to introduce the world’s first investment-grade carbon pricing system for the power sector, aimed at aligning company operations with a 2°C pathway. The Carbon Pricing Corridors report identified that utility firms would need to adopt a carbon price range between $30 – $100 per tonne by 2030 to limit global warming to 2°C.
Good Shipping Program sets sail in pursuit of biofuel breakthrough
Dutch biofuels specialist GoodFuels has launched a new initiative to scale up the nascent shipping biofuel market and give freight companies control of their carbon footprint. The Good Shipping programme allows cargo owners to purchase low-carbon, compatible and sustainable drop-in biofuels instead of having to rely on the ship owner to change its fuel mix.
Nickel method of generating hydrogen could make fuel cell cars feasible
Hydrogen production can be clean, but this takes a lot of energy and is expensive. Physicists have discovered a way to make the process more efficient for little cost using a cheap nickel catalyst that helps part of the reaction happen more easily. If used in production, it could mean hydrogen fuel would cost significantly less than it does today.
Also this week, German and Italian public transit companies are seeking tenders for the development of 63 hydrogen fuel cell buses as part of an EU-funded low emission transport project to help boost urban air quality.