Singularity University Online Conference on COVID-19 Happening Today

It’s free and you can attend from all over the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and we all need to do our part to help our communities. Step one might be to better understand the coronavirus and how it functions in the context of our health and our society at large. The Singularity University is running a free to all online conference on COVID-19 which runs today and tomorrow (yesterday’s session can still be viewed). In times like this we should all do what we can.

Join us for multiple days of live streamed content from Singularity University’scommunity of global experts on COVID-19, the current challenges and solutions, and future impact on our health, business, government, and communities.Our goal is to bring you the facts about this global health challenge and to give you practical information and tools to keep you healthy and prepared for what might come. The virtual summit will take place March 16-18, 2020 and will be completely free for anyone to join. We’ll be releasing specific sessions and topics this week.

All session will be live-streamed to our following social channels:

SU Facebook

SU Hub Facebook 

Twitter 

Linkedin

Register and watch here.

Teck Halts Work on Tarsands Proposal

industry

Canada is waking up to the reality of the climate crisis, those ringing the alarms includes a diverse group from the Wet’suwet’en Nation to Greenpeace. Now a large fossil fuel company, Teck Resources Ltd., has decided to not move ahead with an environment-destroying tarsands project partly due to the fact that planet is facing catastrophic climate change. The company CEO released a statement stating that the Canadian government needs to clarify its climate policy (essentially asking for regulation) and that the economic benefit of fossil fuels isn’t as clear as it used to be. The pressure that people put on Teck over the last years has proven effective, thanks to everyone that helped fight Teck’s initial plan!

Hopefully this helps empower the Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests. Protesting works.

Lindsay wrote that customers want policies that reconcile resource development and climate change — something he said the region has yet to achieve, but he did not clarify if the region he was referring to was Alberta or Canada.

“Unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project,” he wrote.

Energy consultant Greg Stringham, who has worked for the industry, government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said tight economics and increasing risks put Teck at the centre of debate around energy projects.

Read more.

Countries can Greatly Reduce Carbon Emissions by Improving Transmission

Solar panels on grass

In order to avert climate catastrophe we’re going to have to make boring changes to our built infrastructure. Politicians find it hard to argue for these sorts of enhancements because voters don’t get to see a ribbon cutting ceremony; however changes to infrastructure can make a massive difference. In the USA alone enhancing electrical transmission over power lines can reduce carbon emissions comparable to the entire chemical industry. And power lines are boring. As we find ways to use power lines (and other existing infrastructure) we need to encourage and reward politicians who want to improve them to save our planet.

Technical losses are the simplest to address through the deployment of more advanced technologies and by upgrading existing infrastructure, both for long-distance transmission of power and distribution at the local level. Improvements in transmission can be made, for example, by replacing inefficient wires, using superconductors that reduce resistance in wires, and thus lost energy, and controlling power flow and high-voltage direct current.

Similarly, improvements in distribution can be achieved by better managing the load and distribution of power, as well as how distribution lines are configured. Innovation, such as adopting digital technologies for routing power flows, can also play a role.

Solutions for nontechnical losses are more challenging and may only partially cut associated emissions. The causes of high losses are diverse and can originate in, for example, extreme events, such as the hurricanes that struck Haiti and Puerto Rico in recent years, or war, or a combination of weak governance, corruption and poverty, as seen in India. For either type of losses, countries with large shares of fossil fuel generation and the most inefficient grid infrastructure can cut the greatest emissions and reap the largest environmental benefits from reducing transmission and distribution losses.

Read more.

Closing Coal Plants Saves Lives

industry

Everyone already knows that burning coal for energy is absolutely horrible for the planet and were still learning just how bad coal power plants really are. The positive news is that once the plants are closed positive changes are quick to be found. A recent study found that shutting down coal power plants can be connected to the saving of 26,610 lives in the USA alone. There are other benefits too like cleaner air for plants, which in turns increases crop yields. This is yet more evidence that we need to do everything in our power to shutdown the use of coal.

An estimated 26,610 lives were saved in the US by the shift away from coal between 2005 and 2016, according to the University of California study published in Nature Sustainability.

“When you turn coal units off you see deaths go down. It’s something we can see in a tangible way,” said Jennifer Burney, a University of California academic who authored the study. “There is a cost to coal beyond the economics. We have to think carefully about where plants are sited, as well as how to reduce their pollutants.”

Read more.

Electric Power from Rivers Meeting Oceans

ocean shore

Renewable energy comes in many forms with new innovative approaches being discovered very so often. A more recent approach to carbon neutral renewable energy can be found where two bodies of water meet. In an innovative approach, scientists have found a way to create electricity from locations where fresh water bodies (usually rivers) meet salty ocean water. The process has been proven to work; however, it requires a large quantity of water to make it profitable. The next phase will be to try out the process at scale and to ensure there are no negative impacts on the local ecosystem.

There are several ways to generate power from that mixing. And a couple of blue energy power plants have been built. But their high cost has prevented widespread adoption. All blue energy approaches rely on the fact that salts are composed of ions, or chemicals that harbor a positive or negative charge. In solids, the positive and negative charges attract one another, binding the ions together. (Table salt, for example, is a compound made from positively charged sodium ions bound to negatively charged chloride ions.) In water, these ions detach and can move independently.

By pumping the positive ions—like sodium or potassium—to the other side of a semipermeable membrane, researchers can create two pools of water: one with a positive charge, and one with a negative charge. If they then dunk electrodes in the pools and connect them with a wire, electrons will flow from the negatively charged to the positively charged side, generating electricity.

Read more.

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