Snippets for 19 November 2020


Renewable energy features prominently in this issue of Snippets. A massive new 26,000 MW, 100 terrawatt-hours, solar and wind development, covering 6,500 square kilometers in Western Australia will, when completed, be the world’s largest renewable project. Most energy will be exported as green hydrogen, ammonia and for electricity, to Asia via an undersea cable.


Nuclear is projected to also make a comeback, but with much smaller and modular options. Not only will they be much smaller (like only 1MW), they will be far safer (incapable of melting down) and able to generate both electricity and meet process heat requirements.


The role of our oceans in absorbing increasing levels of carbon dioxide are also discussed, through utilizing a range of biological, chemical and electrochemical approaches. We can also put our GHG back under the seabed from where fossil fuels have been extracted from.


Sequestering carbon in forests and in soil are also examined, as is why regenerative agriculture is going to be so very important in improving soil quality, water retention and reducing a need for fertilizers. Other forms of farming using crops such as bamboo are also reviewed.


We wrap up with an article on why we need to treat our environment with far greater respect if we are to avoid future pandemics, plus news that Hutt City Council has awarded their new rubbish collection contract to a provider with a fleet of electric vehicles.


Could Australia transform from an exporter of fossil fuels to an exporter of renewable energy? A massive new 26,000 MW, 100 terrawatt-hours, solar and wind development covering 6,500 square kilometers in Western Australia may provide 1000’s of new jobs and bring in new income from Asia where the energy is to be exported primarily as green hydrogen and ammonia, but also as electricity via an undersea electrical cable. When completed, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub will be the world’s largest renewable project. Read more.....



Along with solar and wind, nuclear will likely play an important role in the global energy mix of the future. But it won’t be the type of nuclear technology that caused the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters (large, water cooled reactors). New nuclear technology is safer (using molten salt and high temperature gas for cooling), far smaller and modular. Unlike solar and wind, nuclear energy is continuous, and the new technologies could not only generate clean electricity but help replace fossil fuels used for process heat. Read more.....


Although reducing our emissions is essential to limiting climate change, we will not be able to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement without carbon capture and storage. Now, a consortium of oil companies led by BP is preparing to capture and store Britain’s carbon emissions back beneath the seabed to help meet the government’s mandatory climate commitments. After decades of extracting fossil fuels from the UK’s North Sea now the oil companies are putting that prehistoric carbon back where it belongs. Read more.....


We next examine some options for the removal of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, with oceans set to play a big part in this. And there are a number of options. Biological - restoring coastal blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, salt marshes etc); and controversial approaches such as iron fertilization, which involves adding trace amounts of iron to certain parts of the ocean, spurring phytoplankton growth. Chemical - such as adding different types of alkaline minerals to the ocean to react with dissolved carbon dioxide and turn it into dissolved bicarbonates. Read more.....





Changes in farming practices could help sequester carbon in a number of ways. Regenerative agriculture, which needs to be farmer-led, has the potential to sequester millions of tonnes of carbon, as well as provide greater yields. Farmers would have to relearn older farming practices such as crop rotation and farming without the reliance on the widespread use of fertilizer. Local and, ideally, peer-to-peer enhanced training will be essential, as will changes linking finance to healthier soils. Read more.....


What’s the difference between forestry and soil carbon offsets? Quite a lot as it turns out. Forestry offsets are often based on long contracts of between 50 to 100 years, and established science on tree species and their sequestration properties, backed by satellite and drone verification. Soil offsets are still in their infancy, with contracts only lasting 10 years, science still debating how deep to assess the soil, expensive data collection and greater upfront costs. Read more.....





A different type of farming – bamboo, could be useful in the fight against climate change. Bamboo, a grass, not a tree, grows incredibly fast and stores lots of carbon, at a higher rate than fir trees! It is prolific, with 50 million hectares of forests worldwide. There are many uses as it is very strong and durable, and can also be used to manage chronic land degradation. Unfortunately , being a grass, there is no classification for it to be used in a country’s NDC’s to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Read more.....



A study has shown that having affordable healthcare for indigenous locals living near rainforests has a massive impact on illegal logging of them. In an Indonesian study, a 70% reduction in deforestation was observed when locals did not have to cut down trees to help pay for their healthcare. The more they visited the clinics, the better the reduction. As around 35% of natural areas globally are traditionally owned, managed, used, or occupied by indigenous and local communities, they need to be considered and consulted in conservation programme design. Read more.....




Every year, more than five new diseases emerge in humans that have the potential to become a pandemic. More worryingly, there are thought to be up to 850,000 viruses in birds and mammals that could potentially infect humans. This article discusses an initiative to reduce the zoonotic pathways for future pandemics. Through providing alternative forms of employment for people who may otherwise take part in activities like the wild animal trade, limiting land use changes and tax regimes, it is hoped that fewer future pandemics may result. Read more.....



Carbon EMS works with many local councils around New Zealand, and often we are asked for good examples of reducing GHG emissions through sustainable procurement practices. In this article we present you with a fantastic example of what one of our clients has done in regards to reducing emissions from rubbish collection. Hat’s off to Hutt City Council who will save 957 tonnes of GHG per annum, in awarding their rubbish collection contract to Waste Management and their use of electrified rubbish collection trucks. Read more.....



This week we have a selection of innovative ideas:

  1. Superconductors: Material raises hope of energy revolution

  2. Scientists Turn Plastic into Hydrogen by Microwaving It

  3. Cement, salt and water: A new storage material for green heat













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