Hydrogen Paste Fuel, Tiny Urban Forests – Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-03-08

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a guest blog by writer Rebecca Clarke on ways to be eco-conscious around your home.

We also have stories that feature the possibility of using hydrogen paste as a fuel in vehicles, how reforestation projects are key to reviving biodiversity, reviewing climate change numbers with Bill Gates, why New York’s Empire State Building is now a beacon of sustainable energy, and the potential demise of 16 coal power plants in Australia.

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A Guide For Eco-Conscious Homeowners in 2021

Guest Post By Rebecca Clarke

As climate change continues to have an adverse effect on the natural world around us, as well as having a big impact on our way of thinking politically, more and more of us are making significant changes to our lifestyles in order to live more sustainably. Green living undoubtedly starts at home, and there are many ways in which you can adopt an eco-conscious lifestyle as a homeowner, whether it’s choosing to buy eco-friendly products, being more energy efficient at home or making your garden more accessible to wildlife.

Communities, both at home and abroad, need to come together if we are to slow climate change to a level where we can prevent widespread disaster, and limiting the impact your household has on the environment will not only ensure that you’re doing your bit, it will also go towards setting a good example to your neighbours, family and friends. This guide will explore some of the ways in which you can do your bit for the environment as a homeowner in 2021. [read more]

 

Top 5 Happy Eco News

1. Researchers Develop Hydrogen Paste That Could Fuel Vehicles

A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) has developed a hydrogen paste that could one day be used to fuel vehicles. In the Germany-based institute’s latest development, the team came up with a product it calls POWERPASTE, which could be revolutionary in the transport sector. The product is created from a magnesium base and would be stored in vehicles in the form of a cartridge. Those who wish to use this form of fuel for vehicles would be required to purchase hydrogen paste cartridges . To refuel, a driver would swap a used hydrogen cartridge with a new one and then fill the tank with water. Marcus Vogt, research associate at IFAM, explained how the paste works. “POWERPASTE stores hydrogen in a chemical form at room temperature and atmospheric pressure to be then released on-demand,” Vogt said. The researchers say that the paste offers a safe, convenient and affordable hydrogen fuel option for small vehicles. The paste begins to decompose at 480°F, meaning it can be used in cars even in the hottest regions of the world. The POWERPASTE has been praised by the developers for its capacity. “POWERPASTE … has … [read more]

2. Tiny Urban Forests Are Popping Up on Brownfield Sites Across the Globe

Reforestation projects are key in collective efforts to revive biodiversity and limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. It is estimated that by 2050, newly created or restored forests could remove up to 10 gigatons of CO 2 from the atmosphere. Large scale reforestation projects make a large contribution to this figure, but local, small-scale initiatives have a significant role to play too. Photo — Urban Forests Miniature urban forests are a fairly simple idea, initially developed in the 1970s by a Japanese botanist named Akira Miyawaki. Miyawaki observed that protected native forest areas of temples, shrines and cemeteries were a lot more resilient and diverse than the ubiquitous timber forests that dominated the landscape. The native species were perfectly adapted to the local climate and grew in harmony with each other. These native forests can be quite easily nurtured by humans. Taking inspiration from the diversity of nature, brownfield sites are planted densely with a variety of entirely-native seedlings and are then left to grow with minimal intervention. The forests mature into complex ecosystems relatively quickly and are perfectly suited to local conditions. These forests do wonders for local biodiversity, grow quicker and absorb more CO 2 than … [read more]

3. How To Solve Climate Change: Bill Gates Wants You To Know Two Numbers

The world’s fourth-richest person has a plan to save the planet from catastrophic climate change — and it’s cheaper than you think. Matthew Hollister for Forbes Bill Gates wants you to know two numbers: 51 billion and zero. The former is the number of tons of greenhouse gases typically added to the atmosphere each year as a result of human activities. The latter is the number of tons we need to get to by 2050 in order to avert a climate crisis. Gates has a plan for how to go from 51 billion to zero, and he’s happy to say it doesn’t come with a price tag in the trillions of dollars. As you might expect from a guy who made his fortune in technology, the billionaire’s suggested solution is tied in large part to innovation. He spells out his plan in a new book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have And The Breakthroughs We Need, to be released on February 16. Ahead of the book launch, Gates talked to Forbes about why he wrote the book. He also shared details the book doesn’t get into, including how much he’s invested in zero-carbon companies, which … [read more]

4. Empire State Building Realty Trust Now 100% Powered by Wind

For nearly 100 years, the Empire State Building has stood as a testament to the industriousness and economic power of the United States. Now, it can also be considered a beacon for the future of sustainable energy. Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) signed a deal in early February to convert the Empire State Building, along with all of its other real estate holdings, to 100% renewable energy . ESTR is working with Green Mountain Energy to purchase renewable power equivalent to its entire real estate portfolio for the next three years, according to a press release . This newfound commitment emerged after success in a 10-year partnership with Green Mountain Energy to supply the Empire State Building with renewable energy. In 2011, the building went under massive renovations to bring it up to the latest standards in green energy and technology. This retrofit created a 40% reduction in energy use and emissions for the skyscraper. Now, ESTR is ready to bring that change to the rest of its properties in New York, Connecticut, and surrounding areas. Commercial buildings are a leading consumer of non-renewable energy, accounting for 35% of total electricity use in the U.S. and 16% of all … [read more]

5. Renewable Energy Could Render Five of Australia’s Remaining Coal Plants Unviable by 2025

Up to five of Australia’s remaining 16 coal power plants could be financially unviable by 2025 due to a flood of cheap solar and wind energy entering the electricity grid, a new report suggests. An analysis by two groups – the consultants Green Energy Markets and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa) – found previous estimates had understated the amount of renewable energy likely to enter the national electricity market in the next five years, and its ramifications for the ageing coal fleet. Their report said it underlined the need for a national transition plan to guide the inevitable shift away from coal-fired power, which could accelerate sooner than expected. The two groups found solar and wind plants built between 2018 and 2025 would add 70,000 gigawatt hours of new electricity supply – equivalent to more than a third of what is currently used across the national grid each year. They estimated renewable energy would make up 40% and 50% of electricity by 2025. It would force output from coal and gas-fired power stations to fall by 28% and 78% respectively over the seven years. The report said at least one coal plant was likely to … [read more]

 

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