Apple invests millions in a carbon-free aluminum smelting method

May 11, 2018 by  
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For over 130 years, aluminum , a material in many Apple products, has been produced in the same dirty, greenhouse gas -releasing way. That could all change soon: Apple is partnering with aluminum company Alcoa Corporation and metal company Rio Tinto to commercialize technology that, according to Apple , “eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.” Fast Company reported the tech giant is investing $10.1 million in research and development. Rio Tinto and Alcoa are coming together to form Elysis, a joint venture company, with the goal of packaging the technology for sale in 2024. Not only is Apple betting big on the venture, the governments of Quebec and Canada are investing around $47 million. Elysis will be based in Montreal and will employ 100 people to work towards commercialization of what Alcoa called the world’s first zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology. Apple said they’d be offering technical support. Related: Apple’s new recycling robot can disassemble 200 iPhones in a single hour Alcoa said in Canada, “the technology could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, if fully implemented at existing aluminum smelters in the country. That represents an amount roughly equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.” Apple chose eight materials to zero in on to seek cleaner production methods, and aluminum is one of those. The company said back in 2015, three of their engineers started a search for an improved method of mass-producing aluminum, and they found it at Alcoa. The company’s founder, Charles Hall, pioneered the old method in 1886, but it uses a carbon material that smolders throughout the process, so greenhouse gases are released. But then Alcoa developed a new process that utilizes an advanced conductive material rather than carbon. The smelting process releases oxygen , not carbon dioxide. Rio Tinto brings smelting technology development experience to the joint venture, which will work towards larger scale production. Alcoa CEO Roy Harvey said in the company’s statement, “This discovery has been long sought in the aluminum industry, and this announcement is the culmination of the work from many dedicated Alcoa employees. Today, our history of innovation continues as we take aluminum’s sustainable advantage to a new level with the potential to improve the carbon footprint of a range of products from cars to consumer electronics.” + Apple + Alcoa Via Fast Company Images via Apple

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Architects propose a giant circular park in the sky for Asti, Italy

May 11, 2018 by  
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This giant green-roofed ring designed for Asti, Italy pairs a car park with a beautiful public space. The project, designed by architects Angelo Salamone and Ilaria Filippi of AS-DOES , is an example of how green infrastructure can create a functional and attractive community space. AS-DOES presented this car park as a proposal for a competition organized by Asti Servizi Pubblici S.p.A. The contest called for solutions to tackle the redevelopment of Piazza Campo del Palio in Asti. Every project needed to address how to revitalize the area and make it safer and more functional for citizens. Related: Striking new footbridge rehabilitates formerly derelict area of French city The multi-story elliptical car park functions as a covered overpass with a large green roof. The project provides vast open spaces , areas for parking and space for commercial and cultural activities. The designers incorporated green space to make the location more appealing and to provide a place for recreation. The green roof gives visitors incredible city views, too. The roof is an ideal location for friends to gather and play ball or skate. The ground floor of the car park has a central square that can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a venue for performances, local events or markets. + AS-DOES

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Apple says they’re "globally powered by 100% renewable energy"

April 10, 2018 by  
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Silicon Valley’s big tech companies are hopping on the clean power bandwagon — last week, Google announced they’d purchased enough renewable energy to match the electricity they consumed in 2017, and now Apple’s making an announcement of their own: their global facilities “are powered with 100 percent clean energy .” Apple’s offices, data centers, and retail stores are all 100 percent powered by renewables, according to the company. They also said nine of their manufacturing partners committed to power their Apple production entirely with clean energy, bringing the tally of supplier commitments up to 23. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal The Verge pointed out this doesn’t mean every electron or joule originally stems from wind , solar , or other clean energy plants. Some global operations are located in areas that lack access to renewables. Apple purchases enough clean energy to offset their power consumption. They buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which the Environmental Protection Agency defines as “a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource.” Apple said they work together with partners to construct renewable energy projects — and they have 25 operational projects worldwide with 626 megawatts (MW) in generation capacity. 15 projects are in the works, and when they’re finished, Apple can boast 1.4 gigawatts of renewable energy generation in 11 countries. Apple Park , the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters, is 100 percent powered by clean energy, according to the company, including 17 MW in rooftop solar . Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s statement, “We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it…We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.” + Apple Via The Verge Images via Apple

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Apple says they’re "globally powered by 100% renewable energy"

Lisa Jackson on Apple’s supply chain evolution

February 5, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Apple’s sustainability chief reveals dramatic shifts to the way it sources iPhone ingredients.

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Lisa Jackson on Apple’s supply chain evolution

8 ripple effects of the circular economy in 2017

December 29, 2017 by  
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From Apple to Cremona, Italy, to Unilever, here’s how industry, agriculture and cities cleaned up their acts this year.

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8 ripple effects of the circular economy in 2017

The sustainability year 2017 in review, in haiku

December 29, 2017 by  
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This Year of the Rooster was stressful for those devoted to sustainability. It may help to take one syllable at a time.

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The sustainability year 2017 in review, in haiku

Why private ‘actors’ are taking center stage on climate change

December 9, 2017 by  
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What other businesses can learn from Walmart, Walkers, Apple and other corporate sustainability leaders.

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Why private ‘actors’ are taking center stage on climate change

Foster + Partners Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public

November 22, 2017 by  
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Apple fans and architecture buffs can now sneak a peek at Apple’s massive spaceship campus at the new Apple Park Visitor Center, opened Friday. As with all the campus buildings and the new Apple stores, Foster + Partners led the design effort at the new Visitor Center, wrapped in a transparent envelope below an incredibly thin floating carbon-fiber roof. The combination of glass and carbon fiber is becoming a hallmark of Apple architecture and stores, including the campus’ Steve Jobs Theater that boasts the world’s largest carbon-fiber roof. Set within an olive grove and positioned for sweeping views of Apple Park, the 20,135-square-foot Visitor Center comprises an Apple Store, cafe, Apple Park exhibition area, and a roof terrace . A model of Apple Park that illustrates the massive scale of the 175-acre campus , as well as the undulating artificial landscape, first greets visitors. The full-height glazing and floating roof makes the building appear weightless and blurs the line between indoors and out. Related: Apple’s stunning “spaceship” campus revealed in new drone footage The furnishings and materials mimic those at Apple Park to give visitors a taste of the main building. The Visitor Center’s small cafe echoes the campus’ restaurant in the timber furnishings and marble countertops. The staircases are also clad in the same quartz stone used in the main building. “The idea was to create a delicate pavilion where visitors can enjoy the same material palette and meticulous detailing seen in the Ring Building in a relaxed setting, against the backdrop of Apple Park,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. + Foster + Partners Images via Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public

This Arctic Apple has been genetically engineered to never brown

October 16, 2017 by  
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The Arctic Apple, a variety of fruit that has been genetically engineered to never brown, even when cut into pieces, may be coming to a grocery store near you. The fruit was first envisioned as a means to increase apple consumption among picky consumers while decreasing food waste. “There’s an awful lot of apples that go to waste,” said Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which designed the Arctic Apple. “We were looking for ways to rebrand apples to make them more convenient.” Starting in November, the Arctic Apple will be sold in approximately 400 supermarkets throughout the United States . Carter estimates that this year’s harvest of 180 pounds of apples will be on the market for about 12 weeks; the first variety of Arctic Apple available will be Golden Delicious, followed by Granny Smith in 2018. Okanagan hopes that this novel approach will catch on among the fruit-consuming public “We’ve seen apple consumption decline on a per capita basis over the last few decades, because they’re not seen as convenient,” said Carter. “When they started selling cut baby carrots, it more than doubled consumption.” Just like baby carrots , the Arctic Apple will be sold pre-sliced. Related: 5 Mouthwatering plant-based fall recipes Apple flesh begins to turn brown when it’s cut or bruised because of enzymes that turn copper upon oxidation. Although the bite-sized, forever-unblemished Arctic Apple may appeal to those who can’t stand to see an apple “go bad,” its status as a GMO may turn off some concerned consumers. “There are certainly people against what we do,” said Carter. “But there are less people against it than two years ago or five years ago. Once people experience the apple, generally they say, ‘Hey this is just an apple.’” Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia and Okanagan Specialty Fruit

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Oil rig explodes in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain, injuring several near New Orleans

October 16, 2017 by  
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An oil rig on Lake Pontchartrain exploded on Sunday night in Kenner, Louisiana , home of the Louis Armstrong International Airport and only a few miles from New Orleans . Authorities began receiving calls about the explosion around 7:18 PM on Sunday; although no official explanation has been offered, authorities on the scene believe the explosion was caused by flammable cleaning chemicals on the oil rig’s surface. At least seven people were injured in the blast and, according to initial reporting, one person is missing. Many of the injuries were serious and authorities expected more to be reported in the near future. Lake Pontchartrain is a brackish body of water that is about 12-14 feet deep, though some shipping channels are dredged deeper, and covers 630 square miles to the north of New Orleans. The exploding rig in the Lake is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., which uses the structure for transferring oil . It is possible that oil is still leaking into Lake Pontchartrain, though this will not affect local drinking water, which is sourced from the Mississippi River. Local residents report having their homes rattled when the explosion occurred. “My house actually shook,” said Andrew Love, who lives in the area. “At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening.” No damage to homes has yet been reported. Related: New NASA study reveals just how fast New Orleans is sinking George Branigan was sitting at home with his wife and stepdaughter when the explosion happened. “We heard something blow up and it sounded like it was in my backyard ,” Branigan said. After going outside to investigate, Branigan heard what sounded to him to be small pebbles, likely debris from the explosion, falling on his home. Branigan was still watching the flames from his porch several hours after the explosion. Via the New Orleans Advocate and San Francisco Gate Images via  City of Kenner Government

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Oil rig explodes in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain, injuring several near New Orleans

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