Airlines will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050

August 7, 2017 by  
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Manufacturers are engaged in a fast-paced fight to deliver efficiency gains that outstrip projected industry growth, says UTC.

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Airlines will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050

Rushing to fill the vacuum, companies deliver more sustainable products

August 7, 2017 by  
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Nature abhors a vacuum. Or so my old physics teacher and Gary Larson’s “Far Side” cartoon liked to say.And so it is with action on sustainability. In this time of political uncertainty in the U.S., Europe and beyond, it is heartening to see civil society and the private sector rushing forward to fill the gaps.

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Rushing to fill the vacuum, companies deliver more sustainable products

10 minutes with Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson Foods

August 7, 2017 by  
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Why the food giant has stepped up its quest to be transparent and accountable for its supply chain.

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10 minutes with Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson Foods

Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

August 1, 2017 by  
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Don’t toss your bagel wrapper in the trash just yet; scientists at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland say they have discovered a way to turn used aluminum foil into a catalyst to create cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels . Working with engineers from the university, Ahmed Osman, an early career researcher at the school of chemistry and chemical engineering, has developed a technique that extracts 100 percent pure single crystals of aluminum salts from contaminated foil, without creating harmful emissions or waste. The salts can be used to kickstart the preparation of alumina catalyst, which can then be used to produce dimethyl ether, a nontoxic, clean-burning fuel that is typically manufactured from plant-based biomass. This process has a couple of distinct advantages, Osman said. Current methods of creating this type of alumina involves bauxite ore, the mining of which causes appreciable environmental damage in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies, and Australia. Related: Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel There’s also the abundance of aluminum foil packaging waste. Because grease in used foil can muck up recycling equipment, nearly 20,000 tons of the stuff—enough to reach the moon and back—is either landfilled or incinerated in the United Kingdom alone. Osman plans to fine-tune his research so he can explore opportunities for commercialization, whether for biofuel production or the use of the modified alumina catalyst in the catalytic converters of natural-gas vehicles. “This breakthrough is significant as not only is the alumina more pure than its commercial counterpart, it could also reduce the amount of aluminum foil going to landfill while also sidestepping the environmental damage associated with mining bauxite,” Osman said in a statement . + Queen’s University Belfast Via New Atlas Photo by blikss/Flickr

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Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

June 23, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been working since the 1970’s to transform algae into biofuel . Now a new breakthrough could make this alternative energy source a more viable option. Researchers from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil were able to edit algae genes to produce two times more lipids. Those lipids can be turned into biofuel that isn’t too different from the diesel we use today. Researchers figured out how to tune a genetic switch to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the alga Nannochloropsis gaditana . They used multiple editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9. They were able to boost the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to over 40 percent – and importantly, did so without stunting the algae’s growth rate. The modified algae can produce as much as five grams of lipid per meter per day. Related: New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80% Vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Vijay Swarup said the milestone confirms their belief algae can offer a source of renewable energy . Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said carbon dioxide and sunlight are two major components necessary for algae production, and both are plentiful and free. According to ScienceAlert, a past report indicated biofuels from algae could become a $50 billion industry , with the potential to offer transport fuel and food security. But we still could be years away from pumping this particular algae-based biofuel into our cars at gas stations. Researcher Imad Ajjawi of Synthetic Genomics told ScienceAlert this step was just a proof of concept, but did describe it as a significant milestone. According to Greentech Media , organizations have been working on making biofuel from algae for years, without much progress towards commercialization. In fact, they cited former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who back in 2009 said the work on turning algae into biofuels might not come up with real results for 25 years. The journal Nature Biotechnology published a study on the concept online this month. Via ScienceAlert and Synthetic Genomics Images via ExxonMobil and Wikimedia Commons

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

Top U.S. truck fleets pave way to fuel efficiency

June 21, 2017 by  
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Run on Less is a first-of-its-kind cross-country roadshow organized by Carbon War Room and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency to showcase advances in fuel efficiency.

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Top U.S. truck fleets pave way to fuel efficiency

10 minutes with Aaron Stash, United Airlines

May 23, 2017 by  
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Why this long-time marketer and musical theater buff is optimistic about his role as the ‘Lorax’ for sustainability at one of the world’s largest airlines.

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10 minutes with Aaron Stash, United Airlines

Statoil, Eni and Total wake up to carbon bubble risks

May 23, 2017 by  
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Big businesses call for greater climate risk disclosure as a new CDP report reveals that attitudes at oil and gas majors begin to change.

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Statoil, Eni and Total wake up to carbon bubble risks

Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees

January 2, 2017 by  
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Until recently, the indigenous Croton megalocarpus tree common to central and east Africa was used mainly for firewood. But now Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) is pioneering sustainable biofuel from croton nuts – without planting a single tree. As opposed to jatropha biofuel, once thought to hold immense promise as an alternative fuel but which required expensive plantations, croton nuts can be sourced from farmers. Managing Director Myles Katz described EFK’s approach as “completely local.” Research revealed croton nut oil could be a “direct replacement for diesel fuel” in some engines, according to EFK, who describe themselves as the first and only croton nut processing company. As the tree is so common, EFK hasn’t yet needed to plant new ones. Instead, as more people found out the nuts once considered useless could bring in extra income, EFK’s harvester network grew to over 3,000 farmers. This year EFK handled 1,000 tons of nuts. Related: Manta moves forward with revolutionary solar-powered algae harvester that makes crude oil Katz told CNN, “We can buy nuts from farmers so they get an income and we have a business model that does not require $10 million of funding and a big plantation to get off the ground…Everything we source, process, and sell should be within 100 kilometers of the factory.” On their website, EFK describes croton nut oil as “entirely environmentally friendly.” The tree flourishes without extra fertilizer or irrigation, and the nut oil production process requires little energy compared with traditional fuel production. Farmers don’t have to switch away from other crops to focus solely on croton nuts, and can even store the nuts for a year. The group says, “Croton trees’ newfound economic value promotes reforestation all over East Africa, which improves soil conditions as well as combats climate change . [Croton nut oil] replaces harmful natural fuels and since it’s produced locally and not imported, it saves carbon emissions as well.” The group also produces organic fertilizer from croton nut shells, and makes seedcake from pressed nuts to feed poultry. Croton nut oil is largely sold to local businesses to power generators. EFK ultimately aims to plant 300,000 trees between 2016 and 2022. + Eco Fuels Kenya Via CNN Images via Eco Fuels Kenya Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees

Spectacular Congress Hall curves upwards like a sail to bridge a Russian river

January 2, 2017 by  
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Government meeting halls don’t often inspire awe and wonder—but the Russian city of Chelyabinsk’s planned Congress Hall will be an exception. Russian architecture firm PIARENA recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Congress Hall of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summits. The sculptural building will span the Miass River like a bridge and curve upwards like a sail on two ends, rising to heights of 61 and 150 meters. The new Congress Hall will primarily cater to the BRICS and SCO events, however, its placement across two riverbanks also opens the site up to public use opportunities along the bridge . The bridge, located at one of the river’s narrowest points and arched to allow small boats to pass under, divides the complex into two sail-like parts to create a dramatic urban landmark. Both curved structures are clad in glass and topped with observation decks . Related: Spectacular Lucky Knot bridge in China twists and turns like a Möbius Strip The larger, 150-meter-tall swooping structure will house the congress hall, mixed-use concert hall, hotel, office complex, conference hall , and VIP offices. The 61-meter-tall structure opposite contains the recreational area and exhibition hall. The landscape design, including the plantings, paving, and street furniture, will be based on a parametric grid pattern of parallelograms. + PIARENA Via ArchDaily Images via PIARENA

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Spectacular Congress Hall curves upwards like a sail to bridge a Russian river

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