Corbyn is the new UK Labour Party Leader. What does it portend?
Karl Marx admirer Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party on Saturday, a victory that may make a British EU exit more likely and which one former Labour prime minister has said could leave their party unelectable. Greeted by cheers from supporters in the room and hailed by radicals across Europe, Corbyn’s triumph opened up the prospect of deep splits within Labour with some fearing he will repel voters with radical policies that include unilateral nuclear disarmament, nationalization and wealth taxes. “Things can and they will change,” Corbyn, who when he entered the contest was a rank outsider, said in his acceptance speech after taking 59.5 percent of votes cast, winning by a far bigger margin than anyone had envisaged. His victory reflects growing popular support for left-wing movements across Europe, with Syriza taking power in Greece and Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos performing well in opinion polls. However, the scale of division Corbyn’s victory has created in his own party was immediately laid bare with one Labour lawmaker quitting his role as a health spokesman while Corbyn was making his acceptance speech. Others quickly followed, saying they would not serve in his senior team.
Back to low-priced oil below the fold, plus problems for Gazprom, E.ON not to spin off nuclear after all, Hinkley “not a bottomless pit”, Japan burns record coal, Paris Climate Conference falling short, radiocarbon dates may be wrong, Scotland to subsidize EVs, Southern Ocean absorbing more carbon, Worthington on fracking, China to build UK nuclear plant, what happens if the world burns all its fossil fuels, two notable advances in PV technology and the low carbon Climatarian diet.
Telegraph: Clock ticking for North Sea Oil
Falling oil prices could lead to the closure of 140 fields in the North Sea over the next five years as operators accelerate plans for decommissioning amid drastic cost cutting, a leading energy consultancy has warned. Wood MacKenzie said that the decommissioning of the fields could go ahead even if oil prices return to $85 per barrel, from their current price of around $49. Even a partial recovery to around $70 a barrel would leave 50 oil fields facing early closure, the Edinburgh-based firm said. Over the same period just 38 new fields are expected to be brought on stream in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), according to Wood Mackenzie. “In 2015 operators have reacted to the low oil price environment by deferring spend and delaying sanction of new developments,” said Fiona Legate, UK upstream research analyst for Wood Mackenzie. “We have analysed the impact of the low oil price on decommissioning activity looking at the timing of cessation, retained decommissioning liabilities from previous deals, and batch decommissioning.” The report comes after Oil and Gas UK said that 65,000 jobs had been lost in the North Sea since the slump in oil prices began last November. The trade body has warned that with so few new projects gaining approval, capital investment is expected to drop from £14.8bn last year to between £2bn and £4bn in each of the next three years.
Financial Times: US shale oil industry hit by $30bn outflows
US shale producers reported a cash outflow of more than $30bn in the first half of the year, in a sign of the challenges facing the US’s once-booming industry as the slump in oil prices begins to take effect. The shortfall points to a rise in bankruptcies and restructurings in the US shale oil industry, which has expanded rapidly in the past seven years but has never covered its capital expenditure from its cash flow. Capital spending by listed US independent oil and gas companies exceeded their cash from operations by about $32bn in the six months to June, approaching the deficit of $37.7bn reported for the whole of 2014, according to data from Factset, an information service. US oil production fell in May and June, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and some analysts expect it to continue falling as financial constraints limit companies’ ability to drill and complete new wells. Companies have sold shares and assets and borrowed cash to increase production and add to their reserves. The aggregate net debt of US oil and gas production companies more than doubled from $81bn at the end of 2010 to $169bn by this June, according to Factset.
Oil & Gas Investor: US Shale Producers Plan To Cut 2016 Budgets
Some of the largest U.S. shale oil producers have already begun slashing 2016 budgets, with some planning double-digit reductions starting next January, the latest sign low crude prices are forcing a radical adjustment in the industry. A rash of bleak commentaries from CEOs this week marks one of the earliest times in a calendar year that oil producers have laid out rough sketches for the following year’s spending. Gone, for now at least, are the high-rolling ways of an industry that as recently as last year was flush with cash. Here to stay, it seems, is constant belt-tightening, though executives still think they will be able to pump more oil. In all, North American oil companies should cut their budgets by as much as 15 percent next year, analysts at Barclays estimate. “No cost is too small for us to scrutinize,” Marathon Oil Corp Lee Tillman told the Barclays Energy Power Conference on Sept. 9. “We continue to be laser-focused on reducing costs across all areas of our business.”
IEA: Oil Market Report
Oil’s latest tumble is expected to cut non-OPEC supply in 2016 by nearly 0.5 mb/d – the biggest decline in more than two decades. Lower output in the US, Russia and North Sea is expected to drop overall non-OPEC production to 57.7 mb/d. US light tight oil, the driver of US growth, is forecast to shrink by 0.4 mb/d next year. Global oil demand growth is expected to climb to a five-year high of 1.7 mb/d in 2015, before moderating to a still above-trend 1.4 mb/d in 2016 thanks to lower oil prices and a strengthening macroeconomic backdrop. US oil production is likely to bear the brunt of an oil price decline that has already wiped half the value off Brent. After expanding by a record 1.7 mb/d in 2014, the latest price rout could stop US growth in its tracks. A sharp decline is already underway, with annual gains shrinking from more than 1 mb/d at the start of 2015 to roughly half that level by July. Rigorous analysis of our data suggests that US light tight oil supply, the engine of US production growth, could sink by nearly 400 kb/d next year as oil’s rout extends a slump in drilling and completion rates. Producers outside of the US also continue to adjust to the lower price outlook. Marginal fields are being shut or are at risk as companies seek to stem losses from high operating costs.
Aguilera & Radetzki via the GWPF: Oil – abundance, undisturbed availability and suppressed price levels in the decades to come
Using simplistic methodologies, we conclude that the shale revolution will yield an in-creased output of oil in the world (outside the US) totaling 19.5 mbd in the 20 years be-tween 2015 and 2035. We also assert that the conventional oil revolution – the application of horizontal drilling and fracking to conventional oil formations in the world outside the US – will yield a further addition of 19.7 mbd in the same period, summing up to a spectacular total rise of over 39 mbd by 2035. This is nearly twice as much as the global increase in all oil production in the 20-year period 1994–2014. As the revolutions develop and expand internationally, they are bound to have a strong price-depressing impact, either by preventing price rises from the levels observed in 2015 or by pushing them back to these levels if an early upward reaction takes place. Our conclusion on prices envisages a level of about $60/bl in 2035, while a more optimistic scenario which appears increasingly likely, sees a price of $40 by then.
Doha News: OPEC considering summit meeting
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and non-members are considering holding the first Heads of State meeting in nearly a decade to tackle the issue of falling oil prices, Qatar’s Energy Minister has said. Speaking at the end of a one-day meeting of GCC oil ministers in Doha yesterday, Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada confirmed that an emergency summit of leaders of oil-producing states is being studied. This followed a statement made last week by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying he had put the proposal to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani when he met with him in Qatar, and that the Emir had “liked” the idea, Reuters reported. Venezuela is calling on Opec leaders to decrease production to help boost prices, but those cuts would reportedly have to be shouldered by Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others, which all have excess spare capacity. Addressing reporters in Doha yesterday following the 34th session of the GCC Petroleum Cooperation Committee, newswire AFP reports Al Sada as saying: “The (Venezuelan) president has proposed a summit meeting and this was announced. Now various countries are studying the proposal. Whether Opec and non-Opec producers agree to such a proposal remains to be seen.” If it does go ahead, it would be the first time since 2007 that Opec has held a heads-of-state meeting.
Ukraine state-owned energy giant, Naftogaz, warned Friday that the Gazprom -led natural gas pipelines currently connecting Europe to Russian gas fields is more bad news than good. “Russia’s Nord Stream-2 and the new Turkish Stream pipelines provide additional choice, and more choice is a great thing. However, it is a great thing not for the European consumers but for their Russian supplier,” said Andry Kobolyev, the CEO of Naftogaz. “It will be Russia that decides where, to whom and on which political conditions it is going to supply its gas in Europe,” he said. Naftogaz said Nord Stream undermined the interests of Ukraine and Slovakia as transit points for Russian gas into the E.U. Kobolyev called it “yet another redundant pipeline controlled by Gazprom” designed to increase the European Union’s dependence on Russia. Naftogaz and Gazprom have been going through a bitter divorce for the past year and a half. Gazprom is important to Ukraine’s economy because it pays billions in transit fees. But with the Kyiv and Moscow at odds since 2013, Gazprom has been diversifying its transit routes away from Ukraine. “This is not business, this is geopolitics,” Kobolyev said during the Yalta European Strategy meeting in Kyiv on Friday. “Our European partners told us not to make Gazprom mad, to work with them. And then they went behind our back to do Nord Stream to connect E.U. further into Russia.”
En-Maktoob News: Talks on Turkey-Russia gas pipeline ‘frozen’
Talks between Russia and Turkey on building a new gas pipeline between the two countries are currently frozen amid differences over the price of Russian gas imports, a Turkish official said Friday. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the plan for the Turkstream pipeline in a shock move in December 2014, saying it would replace Russia’s now junked South Stream joint venture with EU firms. However, despite the fanfare of the announcement, construction of the pipeline has never properly got under way, leaving analysts suspicious over the feasibility of the project. “I am not saying the sides have walked away from the table. I am saying that the talks are frozen,” Turkish media quoted energy ministry assistant under-secretary Sefa Sadık Aytekin as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Istanbul. He said that talks were “deadlocked” because of preconditions imposed by Russian gas giant Gazprom for the reduction Turkey wants in the price of Russian gas imports. The plan for Turkstream envisages four 900 kilometre (560 mile) long offshore pipelines underneath the Black Sea linking southern Russia to western Tur-key. This would allow Russia to achieve its goal of delivering gas to Europe while avoiding the territory of its conflict-torn neighbour Ukraine. The projected capacity of the project is 63 billion cubic metres of gas. The first of the four lines was due to be constructed by December 2016, with the gas first going to the Turkish market and then to foreign buyers.
BusinessGreen: E.ON scraps plans to spin-off nuclear power
The German energy giant last year outlined plans to spin-off its fossil fuel and nuclear generation operations into a new company, since named Uniper, while its core business would focus on renewable energy, distribution networks, and energy efficiency services. The decision was made in response to Germany’s rapidly changing energy market, which is being pushed to fulfil the country’s target of sourcing 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, with all nuclear plants decommissioned by 2022. However, the company has now said it will retain its nuclear assets, which represent about eight per cent of its total generation portfolio, as it faces potential German legislation that would make it permanently liable for all costs of its nuclear generation. Under current German laws, companies remain liable for any spun-off units for five years, but the new legislation could mean E.ON permanently retains full responsibility for its assets. The legislation is aimed to address concerns that companies would break up to avoid nuclear decommissioning costs of up to €38.5bn. E.ON has condemned the proposed legislation, claiming it could be ruled unconstitutional, but Johannes Teyssen, chief executive, said that waiting for a decision would impact on its scheduled breakup. “The decision safeguards us against risks to the implementation of our corporate strategy,” he said. “We cannot and will not wait for possible policymaking decisions that could delay the spin-off of Uniper. Nowhere in the world is there a comparable precedent for separating asset ownership from liability unlimited in duration and scope. Nevertheless, Germany seems determined to adopt this singular approach.”
Bloomberg: Japan’s utilities burn record coal in August
Japan’s regional power utilities burned the most coal on record in August, flouting calls from the nation’s environmental minister to rein in use to control greenhouse gas emis-sions. The nation’s 10 power utilities used 5.82 million metric tons of coal in August, the Federation of Electric Power Cos. reported Friday. That’s the most in monthly usage since the group started compiling data in April 1972. While total power generation and purchases fell 0.9 percent, liquefied natural gas use slid to the least in August in 5 years and fuel oil to its lowest level for the month in 6 years. Coal consumption increased 19 percent between 2010 and 2014, largely due to the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, which led to the shuttering of the nation’s nuclear plants for safety checks. “Coal is still the cheapest fuel source,” Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, a Tokyo-based analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said by phone. There is more coal plant capacity available this year than last year in Japan, he said. By year’s end it will cost on average of about 4 yen (3 cents) per kilowatt hour to operate a coal-fired plant, compared to 9.6 yen for a gas-fired facility, according to data compiled by BNEF.
Britain is still on track to build its first nuclear power plant in a generation, the Chancellor has vowed, hitting back at claims the Hinkley Point project would become a “bottomless pit” for the Government’s cash. George Osborne claimed that the country would be left with a “very big hole” in its electricity needs without the plant, which is expected to generate around 7pc of Britain’s electricity supplies. The Chancellor said he would visit China this month, where he is expected to press for a deal between EDF, the French developer of Hinkley Point, and potential investment partners in the country. He said the Government was fully behind a deal, and described it as a “tragedy” that Britain had stopped building nuclear power stations. “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be able to do a deal, but we’re still in negotiations,” he told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. The Chancellor’s comments came just days after EDF’s chief executive admitted that the £24.5bn project would not start generating power in 2023 as planned because of a series of delays. Mr Osborne said nuclear power stations, including Wylfa in north Wales, would form part of the Government’s energy strategy to “make sure the lights stay on”.
Bryony Worthington – now Labour shadow energy minister – says fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain. But she insists shale gas should only be developed if its emissions are captured and stored underground. “We have to be realistic,” she told BBC News. “We are going to be using gas for a long time because of the huge role it plays for heating homes and for industry. “The important thing is to minimize the carbon emissions from gas. That means if we can get our own fracked gas, it’s better to use that than importing gas that’s been compressed at great energy cost somewhere else.” She believes NGOs (green groups) have been opportunistic in gathering support for green causes by taking an absolute position on shale gas. “We have the mother of all challenges getting emissions of greenhouse gases out of our energy system – environmentalists should not be adopting a priori objections to technologies but appraising them with a cool head,” she argued.
Power Engineering International: UK government set to approve Chinese nuclear project
The British government is expected to fully approve a nuclear power project at the Bradwell site in Essex next month. The deal, part of a wide-ranging civil nuclear pact between Britain, France and China, may be sealed in October during the Chinese president’s state visit. The Chinese firms involved are to build a prototype nuclear reactor at the site. The plant would be the first Chinese-designed and operated facility in the West. It is the price Beijing has extracted in return for its agreement to help pay for two new plants to be built by France’s EDF Energy — one at Hinkley Point in Somerset and the other at Sizewell, Suffolk. A DECC spokesman said of the expected Bradwell sale: “Negotiations are ongoing and whatever the outcome it will need to be a good deal for the UK.”
Power Engineering International: Dutch coal plant gets go-ahead
A court in the Netherlands has decided that an application to develop a new $2.25bn coal-fired power plant is legally compliant. An environmental license granted for the coal plant had been challenged but the Council of State has dismissed objections by environmental groups including Greenpeace to the 1.6 GW plant in Eemshaven. Completion of the plant, under construction since 2008 and which is expected to supply electricity to 2 million Dutch and German households, had been delayed due to environmental concerns over its location near nature reserves, including mud flats and islands off the Dutch and German North Sea coast. Roger Miesen, Chair of RWE Netherlands, told Power Engineering International, “The Eemshaven power plant is one of the most modern plants in the world. It is very flexible so it can balance the volatile production of solar and wind energy in an ideal way what is crucial for the security of supply in the Netherlands.” Governments endorsed the plant as Germany seeks to end nuclear power generation by 2020 and Dutch natural gas fields are in decline. RWE’s Dutch subsidiary Essent argued that coal has the additional benefit of being relatively cheap and “coming largely from politically stable countries.”
Inside EVs: Scotland offers interest-free electric cars
Scotland, on top of the UK’s Plug-in Vehicle Grant (up to £5,000 for cars and £8,000 for vans), and ChargePlace Scotland’s program to finance home EVSEs, now has a new incentive to buy an electric car. Transport Scotland introduced a new £2.5 million fund through Energy Saving Trust to offer interest free loans to buyers of plug-in cars. £50,000 is around $77,000, so one could finance nearly all models on the market. Loans must be repaid over a period of up to six years. Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “Encouraging mass changeover to electric vehicles, from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel, is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality. Electric vehicles already offer large savings to drivers through reduced fuel and taxation costs and this fund will further encourage new buyers by addressing the current cost premium often cited as a barrier to making the switch. I am pleased we are adding this incentive to the growing package of support measures for EVs outlined in the ‘Switched on Scotland’ policy roadmap.”
Energy Post: Baseload power outdated, says National Grid chief
Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the company that operates the gas and power transmission networks in the UK and in the northeastern US, believes the idea of large coal-fired or nuclear power stations to be used for baseload power is “outdated”. “From a consumer’s point of view, the solar on the rooftop is going to be the baseload. Centralised power stations will be increasingly used to provide peak demand”, he says, in an exclusive interview for World Energy Focus, a publication of the World Energy Council produced by Energy Post. The chief of National Grid also notes that energy markets “are clearly moving towards much more distributed production and towards microgrids”. He notes that the speed at which the energy system is changing has taken many people by surprise, including himself. “The amount of solar being added to the system is incredible. 1500 MW in the first three months of this year. That’s the capacity of two power stations. I made a comment to the Energy Minister four years ago that there was little probability we would have 20,000 MW of solar in the UK. Now three of our scenarios have more than 20,000 MW of solar by 2035.”
A paper by the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform (EUPVTP) maintains that insufficient research exists to counter common misconceptions that the integration of PV into power systems is a “threat to stability or affordability”. Instead, the EUPVTP study said greater levels of PV on the grid should be seen as an opportunity, offering ancillary services and reducing the need for grid reinforcement in the face of increasing demand. Although PV now accounts for some 3% of the EU’s electricity needs, its inherently decentralised and variable characteristics put it at odds with the incumbent technologies for which the power system has been designed, a fact that has been used to justify suggestions by some that too much of it will destabilise the grid. But the EUPVPT report, ‘PV merging with the active integrated grid’, argued that there is no quantitative basis for such claims and that more research is therefore needed to educate stakeholders on the opportunities PV presents. The study said theoretically grids can sustain “unrestricted penetration” of distributed generation, as long as the quality of that supply is addressed at the point of connection, through modern power electronics and distributed control technologies.
Wind Power Engineering: The emerging microgrid market
Basically, a microgrid is a distributed power system with the ability to self-supply, manage, and operate with or without the main grid as required. Microgrids do so through the use of a master controller that acts as the “brain” of the system, collecting data from connected energy sources while determining how to best control and operate that energy. Through this brainpower, microgrids have the ability to improve power quality by reducing grid imbalances and providing a reliable supply of energy. They can also help solve intermittency issues commonly associated with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Microgrids can serve as a back-up power source or bolster the main power grid during periods of heavy demand. “Microgrids are inching their way into the mainstream, with the focus of the market shifting from technology validation to questions surrounding the most promising business models,” said Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. As of 2Q 2015, the firm identified a total of 12,031 MW of microgrid capacity throughout the world, up from 4,393 MW in 2Q 2014—a near tripling of the known scope of the microgrid market.
The vast Southern Ocean around Antarctica has started to soak up more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in recent years, helping limit climate change, after signs its uptake had stalled, a study said on Thursday. The Southern Ocean’s natural absorption of carbon roughly doubled to 1.2bn tons in 2011 – equivalent to the European Union’s annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions – from levels a decade earlier, it said. “It’s good news, for the moment” for efforts to slow man-made global warming, Nicolas Gruber, an author of the study at Swiss university ETH Zurich, told Reuters. He said it was unclear how long the higher rate of absorption by the Southern Ocean, the strongest ocean region for soaking up carbon, would last. “The Southern Ocean is much more variable than we thought,” he said of the report by an international team in the journal Science and based on 2.6 million measurements by ships over three decades. Changes in winds and temperatures had apparently driven the shifts, linked to high pressure systems in the atmosphere over the Atlantic part of the Southern Ocean and low pressure over the Pacific, it said.
Christian Science Monitor: What would happen if we burned all the world’s fossil fuels?
What would the world look like if we burned all of the world’s available oil, coal, and natural gas? According to a study published this week in the journal Science Advances, it wouldn’t be pretty. The entirety of Antarctica’s ice sheet would melt into the ocean, raising sea levels by between 50 and 60 meters. Metropolises that define our civilization, including New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, would become underwater archaeological sites, with sea levels continuing to rise for at least another 100 centuries. “This would not happen overnight,” Ricarda Winkelmann, lead researcher for the study, said in a press release, “but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it, and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come.” The researchers relied on estimates that all of the world’s available fossil fuel reserves are equivalent to 10,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide. By comparison, humanity collectively emits about 32 billion tons of CO2 each year, according to the US Energy Information Association. “The idea was to compute what we have already started by emitting greenhouse-gas emissions from burning coal or oil – and to analyze where that will take us in the future,” says co-author Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.
Bits Of Science: Paris falling short of emissions targets
Today’s Graph of the Day has a really sobering message. Within four months of the crucial UN-FCCC climate conference in Paris (‘COP21′) countries have submitted grossly insufficient emission reduction targets for the year 2030 – the target year for the new UN climate treaty that will be established at the end of that two-week conference.* After the latest round of UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn the difference between what countries ‘should do’ (1.5C – here’s just one reason why), have ‘promised’ (2C), ‘pledge’ (2030 INDCs) and ‘do’ (current policy >3-4C) is still enormous, this new Climate Action Tracker update shows. Countries’ 2030 emission pledges need to increase by at least 19 billion tonnes of CO2 – in order for ‘Paris’ to become a success, by countries’ own definition(!) [Next challenge -‘beyond Paris’- is delivering on those pledges – actual emission reduction policy – because the upper line in the graph is the scenario that is currently being executed, the ‘global disaster by political choice’-scenario.
South China Morning Post: Many global warming studies may be wrong as carbon dating found to be highly unreliable
Radiocarbon dating, which is used to calculate the age of certain organic materials, has been found to be unreliable, and sometimes wildly so – a discovery that could upset previous studies on climate change, scientists from China and Germany said in a new paper. Their recent analysis of sediment from the largest freshwater lake in northeast China showed that its carbon clock stopped ticking as early as 30,000 years ago, or nearly half as long as was hitherto thought. As scientists who study earth’s (relatively) modern history rely on this measurement tool to place their findings in the correct time period, the discovery that it is unreliable could put some in a quandary. For instance, remnants of organic matter formerly held up as solid evidence of the most recent, large-scale global warming event some 40,000 years ago may actually date back far earlier to a previous ice age. “The radiocarbon dating technique may significantly underestimate the age of sediment for samples older than 30,000 years,” said the authors of the report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics. “Thus it is necessary to pay [special] attention when using such old carbon data for palaeoclimatic or archaeological interpretations,” they added.
Reuters: Greenland fines Greenpeace
A Greenland court on Monday fined Greenpeace over $26,000 for disrupting oil drilling off the island’s coast, the latest chapter in the environmental group’s fight to stop industrial development in the Arctic. Greenpeace activists boarded or tried to board an exploration rig belonging to Cairn Energy three times in 2011. Many Greenlanders disapprove of Greenpeace because of its campaigns against seal and whale hunting, two activities key to the economy and cultural traditions of the 56,000-strong nation. Autonomous within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland becomes financially independent if oil were discovered and many Greenlanders support drilling there.
Oil Price: The solar palm tree
The ‘smart palm’ solar trees are tree shaped solar panels that are capable of generating close to 7.2 kWh per day of energy. As of now, the two smart palm trees have been in-stalled at Dubai’s Zabeel Park and at a beach near Burj Al Arab hotel. The solar trees may seem like a small contribution to the power sector, but new innovations could push the technology forward. The next generation of the solar palm will be 3D printed, an intriguing development that could allow for expanded manufacturing, although costs have not been disclosed. D Idea claims that it has even better plans with its smart palm tree. “Subsequent Smart Palms will have ATM machines and utility bill payment services. Our team has also started to find new ways in which the Smart Palm can support other forms of sustainable generation, specifically through air and water purification modules,” said the company’s CEO Victor Nelepa.
Mashable: Kirigami solar panels
Most of the solar panels in the world sit on rooftops at a fixed angle, so they miss out on capturing energy during parts of every day. Now researchers have shown that by cutting solar cells into specific designs using kirigami, a variation of origami which entails cutting in addition to folding, they can allow the cells to track the sun’s angle without having to tilt the whole panel. This could have a substantial payoff: solar panels with tracking mechanisms can generate 20 to 40% more energy per year than those without trackers. As shown in the video below, applying a specific kirigami cut creates strips in a solar cell. Pulling the two ends in opposite directions causes the strips to tilt and assume a desired angle. Crucially, the structure morphs in such a way that prevents the individual strips from casting shadows on the others, and the “waviness” of the new form does not detract from performance, says Max Shtein, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan. Shtein led the research along with Stephen Forrest, also a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan.
Climates: Climatarian – the low carb(on) diet
Food causes 20-30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Meat causes far higher emissions than plant based food. Climatarians are meat eaters who don’t eat ruminant meat – beef, sheep, goat and deer. While we all need to eat less meat, you don’t have to give up meat entirely and you can still enjoy pig meat, poultry and fish for an easy mixed diet. And if you want to do the best for the climate, avoid processed meats which use more energy, eat less meat overall and be careful not to waste meat. Of 93 different food types in the normal UK diet, nearly all are clustered below 10kg CO2e per kg of food. Beef and mutton stand out above all the rest between 60 and 70kg CO2e per kg food. Other meat products, animal fats and offals hover around the 35-40kg mark. To have a good chance of keeping global warming within 2 degrees we need to reduce meat consumption in the developed world by 50% by 2050.