LINKS OF THE WEEK: Sept 24-30, 2023
A better way to recycle batteries, permaculture farming in India, a truck that traveled 1,000 km on a single fill-up, and nuclear fusion within 10 years? 🤔
Here’s are some of the stories that have been on my radar this week – I hope you find them interesting:
According to International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol, our chances of staying within the 1.5°C limit on global warming have increased thanks to the “staggering” growth of renewable energy and green investment in the past two years. He says there’s still a lot to do but the unprecedented surge in renewables and EV adoption gives him hope.
Whooeeeee are we ever going to need to figure out how to recycle batteries in a hurry if we don’t want EVs to eventually become more of a problem than a solution. (Not to mention all of the other devices that use batteries.)
That’s why it’s encouraging to see that researchers at Rice University in the US say they've figured out a cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly method for recycling batteries that allows them to recoup more than 98% of the metals in just 20 minutes as opposed to the current timeframe of 24 hours. Good news if true!
(Side note: interesting to see a new $65 million EV battery recycling plant opening up in Kentucky of all places!)
Check out this Truck News article about a long-haul transport truck that traveled 1,000 km on a single fill of liquid hydrogen. Yet another advance that could potentially help decarbonize the transport industry!
It’s good to see that green hydrogen was used here but also sounds like the bottleneck to making this kind of fuel-cell truck more mainstream is the lack of availability of green hydrogen. There have been a bunch of stories lately about green hydrogen plants starting up – I wonder if/how the industry will grow to meet demand?
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in an interview with the Associated Press earlier this week that the US has plans to have a commercial nuclear fusion facility up and running within 10 years as part of the nation’s transition to clean energy. Seems ambitious given what most scientists seem to believe but okay! I feel like the vast potential of fusion is exciting enough that pursuing the science is a good thing while also investing more in energy solutions that can help us decarbonize now. Even if the US was able to crack the fusion code in the next decade it sounds like we’d still be decades away from implementing it at scale.
Energy storage is an industry with huge potential that's only going to increase in importance as we proceed on our journey toward a zero-carbon future. Here’s an Interesting Engineering article about an Israeli company that uses crushed rock as the basis of a thermal energy storage system that industries can use to help decarbonize their production process. Gotta love green energy solutions that involve ubiquitously available materials!
Love this article on how urban professionals in India are finding purpose in permaculture farming. I too want to live in a food forest! (Bonus points if it also comes with a bear that hibernates in the compost every winter.)
I'm always a sucker for a good “seaweed will save us!” story so was interested in this Fishsite.com profile of Maine-based startup, Viable Gear. Founder Katie Weiler says her company is on a mission to save our oceans by swapping out petroleum-based plastics used in the fishing and aquaculture industries with seaweed-based alternatives. Given that 75%-86% of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to come from the fishing and aquaculture industries, I hope this company’s efforts are successful. this seems like a good thing.
(Thanks to Annemarie for the link! Keep those sweet, sweet seaweed stories coming. 😁)
Finally, someone (hi David!) expressed an interest in reading about urban farming. I haven’t had time to do a deep-dive exploration of what's going on in the urban farming world these days (if any of you have any good resources for me to check out, please send them my way) – but I did find this interesting CBC story from a few months ago: Yes, You Can Run A Farm Inside A Big City as well as this article about an urban farming initiative in Toronto: How TMU’s Urban Farm is revolutionizing food production and driving sustainability in the city.
I also highly recommend the book, Urban Jungle: The History of Nature and Future in the City by award-winning author and historian Ben Wilson. He offers a fascinating look at urban landscapes around the world and how humans and nature have always co-existed in cities – often in spite of humanity’s best efforts. He talks a bit about the history and current state of urban farming as well.
That’s it for this week!
I’ll be back next Sunday with another installment of Links of the Week. Until then, go forth in awesomeness! 🤘