SnippETS for 14 February 2019


Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter.

This week we start with what's happening with renewables and the move away from fossil fuels.


We then have a couple of articles discussing developments in electric and autonomous vehicles, followed by some information on how water quality can possibly be improved.


We finish with articles on motivating people to recycle and hope for coral reefs.



We open with an examination of a recent two-year study undertaken by 17 leading scientists, funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The study shows that limiting warming to 1.5°C can be achieved through a rapid transition to 100% renewables by 2050, alongside land restoration efforts that increase the resilience of natural ecosystems. Whilst this shift would cost $1.7 Trillion per year, it is far less than the present $5 Trillion a year the fossil fuel industry receive in subsidies. Read more.....



The shift away from fossil fuels to renewables is continuing, with Germany recently announcing that it will close all 84 coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years. By 2038, there won’t be any coal-fired power plants in Germany. The plan includes $45 billion in spending to mitigate the pain in coal regions. And with 116 GW of renewable generation already installed, Germany is well on its way to a renewable future.

Read more.....

Reducing emissions from production in the cement, iron, steel and chemical industries poses challenges. Accounting for about 25% of man-made emissions, it is important these industries GHG emissions are reduced. In many cases fossil fuels are integral to their production processes, for example coking coal in making steel. The world also needs the outputs from the sector to be able to build renewable generation, such as wind turbines. We are left with little alternative but to consider CCS. Read more.....

Electric vehicle ownership costs will undercut those of gas and diesel cars post-2022. Developments with EV’s along with improvements in range and charging times will have positive impacts on the sale and ownership of electric vehicles. Plus, being cheaper, what’s not to like? Government regulations (in some cases) will also see the end of petrol & diesel vehicles as viable long-term transport options. Long live EV’s.

Read more.....



Personal vehicle ownership may ultimately come to an end. Developments in the “self-driving” space are rapidly advancing, and the self-driving ride-share service 'Waymo One" has been launched. Google’s self-driving project has been operating in Phoenix, Az, since 2016, with over 10 million miles driven on public roads and 7 billion miles driven in simulations. It won’t be long before we can sit back, relax and give private vehicle ownership the flick! Read more.....




With populations booming in urban areas that are already short of water, the rush is on to find ways to replenish aquifers quickly, and without contaminating them. Researchers are exploring different low-tech solutions that may help with this. The methods used include doped sand filters, bio-char and plant bio-filters.

Read more.....







Amid all the news about poor water quality, a team of researchers in Canterbury is trialing a world first filtration system that may help reduce nitrate levels. The filter contains wood chip and gravel, sits in the path of flowing ground water, and should last up to 30 years. So far it has proven successful at removing nearly all the nitrate in the flow, but with two more years of testing to be done we may not see these being used for a while. Read more.....




It can take simple things to get people motivated to not litter. A few “Goby’s” on our beaches could do the trick. Read more.....










The demise of coral reefs has become a major issue, but there is hope. An accidental finding in a lab may be the answer.

Read More.....



This week in Innovation, we look at a form of long distance ultrafast transportation that seems promising. Read more.....

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