SnippETS for 11 April 2019

Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter.

This week we take a look at:

  • The proposed Green New Deal, can it be done and at a reasonable cost?

  • How countries are preparing for the shift away from fossil fuel power generation, leave no one behind

  • How to set up a micro grid

  • How political allegiances are changing and also how central government can impact proposed positive changes negatively

  • Can the ocean store even more CO2?

  • Mushrooms that eat plastic

We finish with a look at a storm brewing at a commercial laundry in Rotorua.



The proposed Green New Deal (GND) in the US is seen as a way to transform the global economy, society and the environment. Dismissed by many US politicians as unworkable and unaffordable, the GND refuses to die, due in part to the emergence of new progressive Democrat talent into the House of Representatives, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a growing grassroots movement that accepts continuing as we are is not an option. Read more.....




As this next article sets out – the GND objectives are actually attainable and affordable. The most important component of the GND is to completely decarbonise and the best way to achieve this would be through massive electrification. At the moment in the US, only about 12 quads of electricity is delivered to the point of use, with the balance of the 39 quads embedded in fossil fuels required to generate the electricity, being dissipated as waste heat and carbon dioxide emissions. Read more.....




In undergoing this massive transformation, it is critical to acknowledge that this will impact on people in different ways. Some will see their industries completely close down and others change beyond recognition. In order to avoid a backlash, planning on how to manage this employment transition is essential. Labelled as a ‘Just Transition’ it recommends building social equity into climate change solutions, for example Germany has set aside $43B for impacted workers in their coal industry, set to close by 2038. Read more.....

As much of this transformation is set to occur at a local community, such as large scale installation of residential solar photovoltaics and electrical storage, it is useful to examine just what might be required and how best this might be achieved. And as this electricity will have to consumed, ideally as it is generated, they will need to be part of a microgrid and these microgrids, interconnected to other microgrids and the main grid itself. That will all take project management and coordination skills. Read more.....




Australian farmers are now kicking up a fuss about water management. Once considered irrevocably wedded to the Nationals Party, the farmers have sent a strong message to the incumbent coalition. At the New South Wales state election on 23 March, farmers deserted the rural-branded Nationals in droves, in what has been interpreted as a protest vote against poor water management. It seems like water management will be an important issue for the upcoming federal election. Read more.....





Copenhagen aims to be net carbon neutral by 2025, a very aggressive target for a city 624,000 people. There is a lot of work to do in order for them to reach this target, but the challenges they face are very similar to what all cities around the world would face in order to reach carbon neutrality, including addressing transport, waste and energy. It would be great if our mayor’s in NZ set an aggressive target like this! Read more.....






With transition to a low carbon future relying on lowering emissions, we need to look at ways to capture carbon from the atmosphere. Maybe more can be done with the oceans, which already remove huge quantities of CO2. Methods are being investigated, including adding alkaline chemicals, which react with excess CO2 in the seawater and air to form stable, dissolved mineral bicarbonate. This could also help counter ocean acidification. Hopefully there would be no unforeseen consequences. Read more.....




There are some species of mushroom that eat plastic and convert it to organic matter. Some of these are quite common and are also edible. More work needs to be done on the edible ones to make sure they are safe for humans, but if so, this could be a way of “feeding the hungry”. There are other interesting uses for the mushroom products too. Read more.....





A NZ commercial laundry has found a way of using only cold water, and less gas by not heating the water. Using a laundry ozone gas generator which replicates the conditions of a storm, they introduce ozone into the water under pressure. It removes dirt and bacteria and even uses less water. This is new to NZ but has been used internationally for a while now. Saves the company money as well as being environmentally friendly. Read more....




This week in Innovation, we read about a wood building material that is transparent, and could replace plastic or glass in construction of energy-efficient homes .

Read more....

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