LINKS OF THE WEEK: April 3-9, 2023
Whoo! Lots of stories this week: from stellerators to Australia's largest solar farm to cultivated meat and lithium recovered from batteries – and so, so much more.
NEW STELLERATOR NUCLEAR FUSION REACTOR BEING BUILT – A Wisconsin-based startup called Type One Energy has received go-ahead funding to launch its effort to commercialize a nuclear fusion device known as a “stellerator.” I’m super curious to see if this technology goes anywhere or if renewables become the dominant form of energy in the future. My guess is solar and wind will dominate for the next few decades at least.
INDONESIA GIVES $460 MILLION FOR ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES – To meet the country’s plan to put 2 million electric motorcycles on the road in the next 3 years, Indonesia recently announced it’s giving away USD $460M in subsidies for electric motorcycle purchases through the end of next year. And the electrification of Asia continues…
AMERICA HAS TOO MUCH PARKING – Here's the Wall Street Journal talking about how America has too much parking and describing how cities are getting rid of parking spaces to free land for new development. Imagine: cities made more for people than for cars. Aaaand suddenly I’m thinking about ebikes and escooters and forested pathways for no apparent reason at all...
NEW PROCESS TO RECOVER LITHIUM FROM BATTERIES – Researchers in Germany have developed a "mechanochemical" grinding process that they used to recover 75% of lithium from lithium-ion batteries. Right now this technology is just at the proof of concept stage but researchers are looking to refine the process and explore the possibility of extracting cobalt and nickel from batteries at the same time.
WE NEED TO SHIFT TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY ASAP – Appreciating this Reuters article on the pressing need to shift to a circular economy ASAP. Interesting stats in the article: 90% of UK business leaders connected future revenue growth with climate action and 71% of prospects want to work for environmentally sustainable organizations. Seems relevant at a time where so many companies are complaining they can't find people to work for them...
LITHIUM PRICES HAVE DROPPED 30% THIS YEAR – Hey lookee here, lithium prices have dropped 30% this year – which could mean cheaper batteries and EVs sooner rather than later.
$1 BILLION FOR RURAL RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE US – The Biden government announced it will provide $1 billion in grants for rural renewable energy projects. The money can be used to install solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass projects like anaerobic digesters that process animal manure to generate renewable fuels like biogas – or to make energy-efficient improvements, the USDA said. This seems like a good thing!
AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST SOLAR FARM (FOR NOW) – Congratulations to Australia for finishing construction on what (for now, at least) is the country's largest solar farm!
"THE ANIMAL THIS IS MADE FROM IS STILL ALIVE." – Here's a short video from the Guardian Australia with two women (one a long-time vegetarian, the other a regular meat-eater) trying a sample of cultivated pork meat and sharing their thoughts on what it tastes like. Will environmentally friendly, suffering-free meat be a thing in our future? Here's hoping! 🤞🤞
WORLD'S LARGEST HYDROGEN FUEL CELL PLAN TAKES OFF – The largest-ever hydrogen fuel cell plane has successfully completed its first test flight.
(Now if only we could raise the amount of "green" hydrogen up from 4% of the total currently being produced...)
BRINGING NATURE BACK INTO URBAN ENVIRONMENTS – Nature-based solutions’ like trees and rain gardens can be cost-effective climate adaptations, advocates say. Yes! Bring nature back into urban environments. 🌲 🌳
MODULAR VEHICLES ON THE MAKE IN GERMANY – Researchers in Germany have joined forces with partners from industry to create modular electric vehicles that are made up of durable and reusable modules that can be switched from vehicle to vehicle. Yes! Bring on our circular economy and modular future!
RESEARCHERS RECOVER VALUABLE METALS FROM BATTERIES –Every time I read a story like this about researchers or companies successfully recovering valuable metals from batteries etc., I get really excited about the possibilities of transitioning toward a circular economy future. Just me? 😆 🍩
SOLAR MEADOWS – Now that's some good branding!
METHANE RESPONSIBLE FOR 50% OF OIL & GAS EMISSIONS – According to this RMI study, methane is responsible for one-half of all oil and gas industry greenhouse gas emissions – AND we have the technology *right now* to stop leaking the majority of this methane. Seems like a smart thing to do! (I mean, YES, obviously we should work toward liberating ourselves from fossil fuels altogether. But until that happens, this seems like a good interim step?)
EXTRACTING WATER FROM AIR – Researchers in Chicago have discovered a way to extract more water from the air. Obviously this kind of technology would be good for helping us meet our freshwater needs... But when I saw this article, my first thought was of the dire warnings I've seen re: "wet-bulb" temperatures rising around the world due to climate change. YES PLEASE to figuring out efficient ways to pull water from excessively humid air!!
CUSTOMIZED CLOTHING MADE FROM MYCELIUM – ISC3 is an international centre that promotes the transition to sustainable chemistry in support of a circular economy. Check out their start-up of the month for March: MYCOTEX, a sustainable textiles company that makes personalized clothing from mycelium. The future is fungal! 🍄 😁