LINKS OF THE WEEK: Sept 3-9, 2023
The EU's "spectacular" solar rollout, Canada moves to reduce grocery-store plastic waste, electrified cement (??), and a 6,727 km journey that cost $5.
Happy Sunday! Here's a snapshot of some of the stories that have come out of the renewable energy and sustainability world this week.
According to SolarPower Europe, the EU added 41 gigawatts of new solar capacity in 2022, which is a 40 percent increase on 2021 and is expected to rise to over 50 GW this year. Experts are saying this “spectacular” rollout is largely due to the costs of solar power dropping 90% over the past decade.
A new study suggests that dozens of European cities can achieve carbon neutrality within 10 years by incorporating greener building methods as well as nature-based solutions such as using permeable concrete for flood mitigation and adding a lot more urban green space.
The Canadian government has announced plans to introduce a policy that will require the country's largest supermarket chains to drastically reduce their plastic waste. The new policy will target disposable plastic packaging items such as condiment bottles, milk bags, clamshell containers, and shrink-wrap and is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Go Canada! Single-use plastic is a blight on the planet. (ESPECIALLY milk bags – because yuck. 😆)
COULD TABLE SALT PLAY A KEY ROLE IN PLASTIC RECYCLING?
Researchers at Michigan State University say they've discovered a way to use table salt to make plastic recycling more effective and affordable. They say that sodium chloride can outperform much more expensive materials as a catalyst for breaking down not only polystyrene but also polyolefins – polymers that account for 60% of plastic waste – into valuable reusable carbon compounds. Not only that – the salt can be recovered and reused.
I love this TechXplore article about the potential benefits of developing more agrivoltaic farms in Alberta – especially how it seems to have been written specifically to appeal to the conservative provincial government that recently placed a seven-month moratorium on renewables development in the province.
A university in Australia has unveiled a new roadmap aimed at transforming consumer behaviour and waste management to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The "Behavioural Roadmap to Circular Consumption" highlights eight core circular behaviours for adoption, including: borrowing or renting items or services, sourcing items second-hand, and buying products designed to last.
Sounds pretty logical! Now if only products designed to last weren’t so danged expensive…
Baala Manikandan recently rode his electric motorcycle across from Chennai to Bengaluru in India, traversing uneven terrain in all types of weather (with temperatures ranging from 45º to -15º Celsius). The trip took Manikandan 22 days and he says he spent less than $5 USD to charge the bike during the entire trip.
Consider that the next time you’re filling up at the pump…
Before reading this article about "vehicle-to-grid" technology, I don’t think I’d fully comprehended the fact that EVs can be leveraged as energy storage systems when not in use. This makes such great sense, especially for vehicle fleets such as taxis or delivery vehicles.
Speaking of energy storage solutions, researchers at MIT say they've figured out a way to create cement supercapacitators using affordable and readily available materials that could transform buildings, roads, and other infrastructure into energy storage systems that could make on-demand power from renewables affordable worldwide.
Good news if true – and scalable! (AND if they figure out how to make these supercapacitators with green cement.)
Finally, let's end with a "yay humans!" story...
A team of scientists say they've found evidence that early human ancestors went through a "prolonged, severe bottleneck" in which ~1,280 individuals capable of reproducing were able to sustain a population for about 117,000 years.
A global population maintained by only 1280 people? That's the size of a slightly larger-than-average high school! It's mind-boggling that they managed not to die out over 117,000 years.
That's it for this week!
Stay tuned for our next instalment of "Links of the Week" coming out next Sunday – and thanks so much for becoming an Our Awesome Future subscriber. You rock! 🙏✊