Daily Planet

This week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories — 24 August

How can blockchain help reduce food waste? Which country is set to go ‘fully electric’? And, is it possible to put a price tag on the ‘work’ urban trees perform?

This, and more, in the week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.


Global food firms join IBM blockchain project to improve traceability

According to IBM, every year 400,000 people die and one in 10 people around the world fall ill due to contaminated food, yet it can take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination. The delay often leads to further illness, lost revenue, and food waste. The firm claims blockchain technology is ideally suited to addressing such challenges as it establishes a trusted, transparent environment for all transactions.

Read more on Business Green.


Hanergy to partner with Audi to put solar cells on car roofs

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., a Chinese solar equipment maker, said its US unit, Alta Devices Inc., will work with Audi AG to outfit the rooftops of select models from the German car maker with solar cells. The cells will be used to harvest solar energy to power air conditioning and other electrical functions, boosting mileage in the process. The companies plan to present a vehicle prototype from Audi with a solar roof by the end of the year.

Read more on Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


Norway close to becoming planet’s first ‘fully electrified society’

Norway has the renewable resources and political will to become the world’s first country to use entirely clean electricity for its power demands, according to a new report by Energi Norge, a non-profit industry group representing Norwegian electricity companies.

Read more on Euractiv.


Soil education: There’s an app for that

A new free app aims to illuminate the fascinating world of living soil for kids. Created by Whole Kids Foundation and the Center for Ecoliteracy, the app is designed for tablets (iOS and Android), and includes virtual activities about planting seeds, building a compost pile, cover crops, viewing microscopic images of soil organisms, watching slow motion and time-lapse footage of plants, pollinators, and soil organisms, and more.

Read more on Tree Hugger.


Trees provide €500 million in services per megacity every year

From reducing air pollution and saving energy to mitigating climate change, researchers place a price tag on the work that urban trees perform — at around €505,000,000 per year. The figure was determined as per megacity (a city with over 10 million inhabitants), 10 of which were included in the research: Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, and Tokyo. The cities span five continents and host nearly 10 per cent of the world’s 7.5 billion people.

Read more on Tree Hugger.


German 252 megawatt Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm moves forward

The new 252 megawatt Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm set to be developed in the German North Sea has hit two major milestones, with developer Northland Power reaching financial close, and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind being chosen to supply wind turbines.

Read more on Clean Technica.


Netherlands’ airports switching 100 per cent to wind energy

On 1 January 2018, all major Dutch airports will significantly improve sustainability of their operations by completely shifting to wind power for the supply of their electricity. All airports part of Royal Schiphol Group are participating, including not just the main port, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, but also Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport, and Lelystad Airport.

Read more on Clean Technica.


Europeans are abandoning their utility companies in droves

A combination of new technology and a push toward low-carbon energy has caused customers at Europe’s largest and most-established utilities to flee. The average annual rate of leavers is nearly 12 per cent, more than double the rate a decade ago, according to analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance published Tuesday. The largest six utilities in the UK alone lost more than 2 million customers since 2010.

Read more on Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


Borough Market to phase out plastic bottle sales with free fountains

London’s Borough Market will introduce free drinking water fountains as part of a new pledge to phase out sales of all single-use plastic bottles over the next six months. The historic food market also aims to achieve zero landfill with biodegradable packaging and compostable leftovers.

Read more on The Guardian.


Massive Norwegian data centre will be fully powered by renewable energy

A new data centre being built by American-Norwegian company Kolos is planned to be the world’s largest and it will also be fully powered by renewable energy. The facility will be located in Norway in a fjord above the Arctic circle, which will make it unnecessary to utilise any additional cooling methods beyond open air cooling and the use of the nearby cold water.