The Clean Tech News
The Tesla Semi: an impressive electric truck with “unrivalled performance”

After a leaked email from CEO, Elon Musk, Tesla is preparing for a “volume production” push of their electric truck, the Tesla Semi boasts its impressive features and cost benefits, potentially transforming the truck industry.
Electric vehicle company, Tesla, is leading the way with their electric truck, Tesla Semi. The company, whose mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, revealed plans for the truck back in 2017.

Production of the electric truck was due to postponed until 2021. A leaked email from CEO Elon Musk indicated that Tesla employees were to prepare for a “volume production” push of the vehicle in 2020.

Despite a drop in their stocks back in May, their Tesla Semi is taking charge toward the phase-out of diesel trucks. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better. With their new electric truck, they are on the way to eliminating fossil fuels from the truck industry.

Founded in 2003, the company aims to prove that people don’t need to compromise to drive electric. This seems to be the case with the Tesla Semi as it promises to be: “The safest, most comfortable truck ever”.

Back in 2017, when Musk excitedly revealed the Semi, he said the electric truck “blows my [his] mind”. Boasting its “badass performance” the truck has quick acceleration. Musk demonstrated this at its reveal showing that it will radically outperform its diesel counterparts in terms of acceleration, both on the flat and uphill.

The truck is receiving support from fifteen different U.S. States, along with the Nation’s capital of Washington, D.C.

Tesla’s truck catalysing change in the US
With Tesla planning on beginning production soon, their electric truck could accelerate the push towards US states revising laws that deal with commercial vehicles. These laws look into the impact vehicles have on the environment.

A group of US states and the District of Columbia unveiled a joint memorandum of understanding aimed at boosting the electric vehicle market. The memorandum looks at heavy-duty vehicles and the phasing out of diesel-powered trucks by 2050.

In a report from Reuters showed that several states are pushing for an electric, zero-emission plan for the future for trucks by 2050. If effective, this plan would eliminate the need for diesel trucks that transport goods across the country.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Washington D.C., and Vermont are the states and Territories involved in the plan.

Aiming to reduce the number of gas and diesel vehicles in the US, the initiative focuses on various types of trucks, buses and vans. The goal is to have every medium and heavy-duty vehicle as emission-free by 2050. This comes with the short term goal of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030.

What’s so good about the Tesla Semi?
According to their website, the Tesla Semi will deliver a far better experience for truck drivers The electric truck increases safety and significantly reduces the cost of cargo transport when compared to diesel vehicles.

With its “unrivalled performance” the Semi can achieve 0-60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000 load. This task takes a diesel truck about a minute. Musk stated at the unveiling of the Semi: “One thing we really care about at Tesla; we really care about performance. We want to have a vehicle that feels incredible, that accelerates like nothing else”. It seems like Tesla has kept true to their promises with their impressive electric truck.

Designed specifically around the drive, the Semi has unobstructed stairs for easier entry and exit. Furthermore, the truck has full standing room inside along with a centred driver position for optimal visibility.

A new high-speed DC charging solution, or Megachargers, will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes. This can be installed at origin or destination points. The Megachargers will enable recharging during loading, unloading and driver breaks.

Tesla’s all-electric architecture inside the Semi is designed to have a higher safety standard than any other heavy-duty truck on the market. Safety features of the electric truck include;

Enhanced autopilot
Automatic emergency breaking
Automatic lane-keeping
Lane departure warning
Event recording
Along with all these impressive features, the electric truck can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.

What is probably the most impressive about the Semi are it energy and cost-saving benefits. When fully loaded, the Tesla Semi consumes less than two kilowatt-hours of energy per mile. It is both efficient and reliable. According to Tesla, owners can expect to gain $200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone.

Musk’s “ecological paradise”
It comes as no surprise that with all these impressive features Tesla’s electric truck is already receiving pre-orders from large businesses. Package chains such as the United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, and FedEx, have pre-ordered 125, 10 and 20 of the trucks respectively.

Tesla will build its new factory in Austin, Texas, Musk announced this week. This factory will facilitate the production of the Semi. Promising to employ at least 5,00 people, Musk described the future factory as an “ecological paradise”.

Explaining the beauty of the new factory, Tesla’s senior global director of public policy has stated: “The potential is just great for recreation, for beauty, and the vision of being able to potentially transform an old mining site into a sustainable factory with recreational opportunities — that’s just a vision that sits perfectly with our mission”.

The factory will be open to the public with a boardwalk and bike lanes. It will be Tesla’s fourth factory in the US. So far the company has their vehicle factory in California, battery factory in Nevada and their solar factory in New York.

Tesla has – and continues – to revolutionise the electric vehicle industry, with their new Semi they are now tackling the electric truck market. With its impressive features and sleek design, it is clear the company are dedicated to transforming the electric truck industry.

Carbon-cutting policies at the forefront of the world’s biggest automakers’ business plans

Some of the world’s biggest automakers are adopting carbon-cutting policies despite an expected fall in car sales post-COVID-19. Macro trends have been identified explaining why the shift to sustainability is accelerating across the globe.
The world’s biggest automakers are making commitments to tackle their carbon emissions. Adopting carbon-cutting policies in their business models seems to be at the forefront of a lot of automakers minds. Porsche have a solid commitment to sustainability and reducing their carbon emissions. It seems many other large companies are following suit.

It is clear that the world is accelerating up their commitments to a clean future and adopting carbon-cutting policies post-COVID.

Just this week, German automotive company, BMW, have set a huge goal of reducing its carbon emissions per car by at least one-third by 2030. By developing and selling electric vehicles, incorporating more sustainable materials, working with its supply chain vendors and adopting clean energy facilities, BMW hopes to achieve its sustainability targets.

As part of an accelerated push into the technology to catch up with Tesla, BMW intends to offer 25 electric and hybrid models by 2032. Concerning their huge targets, Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Zipse said: “We will report on our progress every year and measure ourselves against these targets”. He also added that BMW will “overachieve” meeting stricter emission limits that are taking effect in Europe this year.

BMW also wants a third of its cars sold in Europe to be electric by 2025. Earlier this month the German automaker signed a $2.3 billion order for battery cells made by Sweden’s Northvolt AB to help with their sustainability plans.

Ford and Volvo following the trend
American automaker, Ford, announced last month their plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. This is a striking commitment for an American company, and they are the only full-line US automaker doing its part to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

To achieve their goal, Ford will focus on three areas that account for about 95 percent of its CO2 emissions; vehicle use, supply base and company’s facilities. The company pledge to ‘protect the planet, put people first and create tomorrow, together’.

Mary Wroten, director of sustainability at Ford has stated that Ford is aiming for 2050 to align with the Paris Commitments and because: “…Anything after 2050 is unacceptable climate change risk”.

With Asia rapidly switching to sustainable modes of transport, the continents largest automakers are also pledging carbon-cutting policies.

Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely Holding (not to be mistaken by Volvo Group) is pledging to become carbon neutral by 2040. By 2025, Volvo Cars plan to reduce the CO2 footprint of each car it makes by 40 per cent.

Chief Executive of Volvo Cars, Hakan Samuelsson stated concerning their commitment to sustainability: “We will address what we can influence, by calling on our suppliers and the energy sector to join us in aiming for a climate-neutral future”.

Why are companies committed to carbon-cutting?
Although automakers are expecting slower sales this year to a global recession, three macro trends have been identified behind the carbon-cutting policies adopted by car companies;

Regulators in Europe and China are tightening emissions rules and pushing automakers that sell into those markers to launch zero/low-emission vehicles. Although the US, at a federal level, is lagging behind in this movement, Joe Biden has promised to return the US to the Paris Agreement if he becomes president.
Over the years the auto industry has been slow to adopt zero-emission vehicle technologies. Opening up opportunities for sustainable EV companies like Tesla and Nikola to emerge. Losing market share, and fear of losing market share is a key driver of remaking the auto industry around sustainability.
The pandemic as a learning tool showing the need for change. “Build back better” is a refrain used repeatedly in relation to rebuilding post-COVID-19 sustainably, urging companies and leader to adopt carbon-cutting policies. In Europe particularly, there has been a huge push for the adoption of clean transport with the EU’s €750bn recovery plan to boost transport.
The identification of these macrotrends, along with the world’s biggest automakers committing to carbon-cutting policies, shows the worldwide commitment in transforming the mobility industry. It is exciting to think of what is to come in the world’s recovery post-COVID-19.

HYZON Motors and ReCarbon to push green hydrogen-powered heavy trucks

HYZON Motors, who offer comprehensive clean transport solutions, is the world-leading fuel-cell mobility commercialisation spin-off of Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.
The company is focused on rapidly accelerating the adoption of zero-emission commercial vehicles.

Last month, the company opened Europe’s first dedicated Hydrogen Truck Production Facility in Groningen, the Netherlands. With this new European facility, the company expect to ship hundreds of fuel cell heavy vehicles by the end of 2021.

For this new Hydrogen Truck Production Facility, US-headquartered HYZON Motors have teamed up with Holthausen Clean Technology B.V. to offer high quality, locally built zero-emission commercial vehicles. These vehicles will meet European standards, reduce supply chain interdependencies, and create new local jobs in environmentally sustainable industries.

This is particularly exciting as the European Union member states and European corporations are actively seeking solutions to climate change. Heavy trucking has been at the forefront of the minds of many, especially as they are a significant contributor to carbon emissions.

The announcement of this new Hydrogen Truck Production Facility follows the HYZON re-launch of the former General Motors’ fuel cell facility in New York. Not only this but HYZON also announced the commencement of HYZON operations in Australia; the company is rapidly expanding across the globe.

Max and Carl Holthausen, joint Managing Directors of HYZON Motors Europe stated concerning this new production facility:

As a European pioneer in fuel cell vehicle commercialization, Holthausen Clean Technology has been delivering fuel cell trucks for years, and we are honoured now to join forces with our US partner, HYZON Motors, to bring the most advanced fuel cell truck technology to European customers. Made in Europe to meet European decarbonisation objectives.”

With this new initiative, HYZON Motors is at the centre of Europe’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. These efforts have sustainable transport at its heart. The European Union’s anticipated $140 Billion hydrogen economy by 2030 and the recently unveiled $9 Billion National Hydrogen Strategy for Germany, it is clear Europe is pushing for sustainable transport.

HYZON Motors and ReCarbon

Not only have HYZON Motors opened their new truck production facility, but they are also now in collaboration with ReCarbon, Inc. to commercialize green hydrogen-powered heavy trucks and buses.

ReCarbon Inc. is the creator of ReCarbon, an innovative technology platform that recycles carbon emissions into revenue-generating products. Specializing in building proprietary plasma generation systems, these systems convert carbon emissions into industrial gases.

George Gu, CEO of New York-based Hyzon Motors, Inc. stated in relation to this new partnership:

Offering green hydrogen mobility as a service is the cornerstone mission of our company. Our collaboration with ReCarbon creates an opportunity to provide this to fleet owners, to make the switch from diesel to hydrogen economically, while drastically reducing their carbon footprint from fuel to emissions.”

Dr Jay Kim, CEO of ReCarbon Inc. also stated concerning the new partnership:

We are pleased to collaborate with HYZON Motors, to play substantial role in the proliferation of green hydrogen mobility to holistically address the issue of carbon emissions, across the entire global heavy mobility sector.”

George Gu on HYZON Motors

George Gu
Following these advancements in the company, along with their commitment to sustainability, CleanTech News spoke to George Gu to ask him more about HYZON motors.

What are your companies core values?
Integrity and Innovation.

Why did you choose to develop a hydrogen-powered vehicle?
It was a 17-year-old dream that started when the Horizon founders were doing clean technology investments for Eastman Chemical Company. We believed hydrogen was the key for the world to go zero carbon.

HYZON Stands for Hydrogen Mobility Powered by Horizon. We began with making fuel cell toy cars to educate the public and to build core technologies and got Time Magazine Best Invention Award in 2006. Over the years we grew the size of our fuel cells and the size of our vehicles. We started HYZON Motors early this year and are developing the world’s most powerful fuel cell engine and the heaviest fuel cell trucks.

What are your sustainability goals?
Local waste, local fuel, local mobility, local resilience and local jobs.

What do you think are the benefits of sustainable modes of transport?
Zero-emission of greenhouse gas and air pollutants, energy resilience.

What makes your company stand out over other sustainable vehicle companies?
We are the few fuel cell vehicle companies with core fuel cell technologies which are critical for vehicle performance, cost and time to market. HYZON’s fuel cell stack has superior power and power density performance and can be used not only for trucks but also for forklifts, aircrafts, trains, boats, mining equipment, port equipment, etc. Horizon and its partners have already delivered hundreds of fuel cell trucks and now HYZON is able to ship the truck to first customers this year.

What are the benefits of hydrogen-powered technology?
Long-range, fast refill and zero-emission. Possibility to go to negative carbon.

How do you think your products could transform the transport industry?
We work with partners to decarbonize the transport industry by starting from the heavy truck sector, without adding customer additional cost. Our goal is to bring both affordable trucks and affordable hydrogen to end users, starting from now, not in 3 or 10 years.

What are the benefits to your collaboration with ReCarbon, Inc?
ReCarbon is one of the partners we are working with to bring negative carbon green hydrogen to truck customers. Biocarbon can be produced in the waste to hydrogen conversion process so it is carbon negative and greener. HYZON is working with pioneers to validate the technologies as well as the green business model, enabling worldwide adoption of green hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles in large scale.

British Lithium Limited has secured a grant for their ‘game-changing’ technology

Following years of research, British Lithium Limited has secured a €560k grant, which will help with their goal to support the production of 350,000 electric vehicles in the UK per year.
British Lithium Limited (BLL) has secured €560k for their ‘game-changing’ lithium extraction technology. Founded in 2016, BLL is the first company to explore unconventional hard-rock lithium in the UK. Not only this, but they are also the first to discover a significant lithium resource in the UK and the first to conduct innovative metallurgical research and development.

Their “project is game-changing and could revolutionise supply of lithium required for large-scale manufacture of li-ion batteries in the UK, aligning directly with key Grand Challenge Missions under the 2019 UK Industrial Strategy”.

With the goal to build an integrated lithium mine and beneficiation plant, the company hope to support the production of 350,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year. This would give the UK a strategic advantage over Europe.

“We have undertaken many years of metallurgical research to develop a unique process for extracting lithium from micaceous granite – something never done commercially before,” said BLL’s chairman Roderick Smith. “We have our own laboratory in Roche, and our aim is to build a quarry and refinery in Cornwall that will produce 20,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate.”

Following years of research, reconnaissance and metallurgical test work, BLL carried out its first drilling programme in 2019. In the second phase of their research, further trenching took place. This was followed by an intensive 24-hour diamond-core drilling programme in December. The company’s on-site team of six is now preparing for the third phase of exploration.

Lithium is a highly reactive and relatively light metal, making it ideal to be used in batteries, especially batteries to power EVs. With a massive decrease in petrol and diesel car sales in 2020, sales of zero-emission cars have increased by nearly 160%. This increase means there is a higher demand for batteries to power these zero-emission cars.

Highly sought after funding for a highly successful company
BLL’s €560k funding comes as a match grant funding from the UK Government’s ‘Innovate UK Smart Grant’. It will be used to progress BLL’s research and development into hard rock lithium extraction in the southern UK region of Cornwall.

The ‘Innovate UK Smart Grant is an opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

British Lithium Limited’s managing director has said about the company:

The amount of lithium we are planning to produce annually will be a major step forward in attracting more battery manufacturers and maintaining our car industry. If batteries are not made in the UK, car makers are likely to continue investing in EV production in Europe, because that’s where the gigafactories are.

Yet Europe isn’t actually producing any battery-grade lithium so achieving that in Cornwall would give the UK as a whole, a huge competitive advantage.”

With an application success rate of around 6%, the ‘Innovate UK Smart Grant’ is highly sought after. Winning it is testament to the strength of BLL and will have a huge impact on Cornwall.

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said concerning BLL’s success,

This announcement is excellent news for the local and national economy as it brings BLL another step closer to building a quarry and processing plant that will create hundreds of high-quality jobs and provide the UK with a significant sustainable resource. As a proud Cornishman, I’m very excited by the prospect of Cornwall leading the way in the production of hard rock lithium and look forward to further developments over the months and years to come.”

The Green Schools Project: Vanessa Nakate is on a mission to power schools in Uganda with solar energy

Environmentalist, Vanessa Nakate and Climate Finance Expert, Tim Reutemann, are on a mission to transition schools in Uganda to solar energy through the Green Schools Project
The Green Schools Project is a renewable energy initiative, which aims to transition schools in Uganda to solar energy and install eco-friendly stoves in these schools.

The project was started by Environmentalist, Vanessa Nakate, in Uganda, Africa in 2019 and Tim Reutemann supports the funding efforts of the Project.

In Uganda, we need a transition to renewable energy. Also, educating students and the community helps create a learning platform for sustainability,” Nakate said.

Schools in Uganda use wood fuelled stoves to prepare meals for students throughout the day.

The eco friendly stoves will reduce the amount of firewood used from five truckloads to two truckloads, per term, aiding in forestation initiatives and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Powering schools with solar energy will bring a sustainable energy source to schools that is less harmful to people and planet than fossil fuels.

The Green Schools project is a Climate Mitigation Project in Uganda under the Paris Agreement.

Moving funding online
Initially, the Ugandan government was unable to secure funding for this project from Western donors as “there was a failure to agree on the mechanisms of the project and a lack of coordination between Western governments and African governments,” Reutemann said.

Funding efforts for the Project were moved online and Reutemann ensures the money raised reaches the project as online fundraising platforms discriminate against fundraising initiatives in Africa.

Reutemann said: “Online fundraising eliminates the slow, traditional, process of applying for funding, which is entirely a paper-based process that could take 3-7 years.

Online fundraising provides a bottom-up approach and very dramatically changes who has access to climate finance and speeds up the process because the climate crisis isn’t slowing down.”

Online fundraising efforts have enabled The Green Schools Project to install solar panels and eco friendly stoves in 4 schools, to date.

A sustainable future
The Project aims to install the solar power technology and eco-friendly stoves in all 24,000 schools in Uganda.

If the sustainability initiative is successful in schools, solar panels and eco-friendly stoves can be installed in homes throughout Uganda.

It costs $2,000 – $3,000 to install solar panels and eco-friendly stoves in each school in Uganda.

Reutemann got involved in The Green Schools Project out of his sense of urgency that the climate crisis needs to find solutions as it is a global threat.

Reutemann used some inheritance money from his parents as initial seed money for the Project.

“It [The Green Schools Project] gives me hope as it is a new way to target climate change from the ground.”

The Green Schools Project is personal to Reutemann, it is not in association or affiliation with his climate finance work in the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Switzerland.

For more information and updates on The Green Schools Project follow Vanessa Nakate on Twitter.

Donations to The Green Schools Project can be made here:

PACE: Committing World Leading CEOs to Carbon Net Zero

PACE (Public Listed Companies towards Clean Emissions), a unique NGO focussed on attaining net-zero is bringing together public listed companies from across the world to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions.
With support from global business, government policy makers, international financial institutions, investors and the cleantech community, this new NGO is the only organisation to champion and support PLCs in their transition to Carbon Net Zero.

As business leaders, PACE acknowledges that public listed companies are facing unique challenges compared to private, smaller or non-listed companies. The nature of this means it is unrealistic to expect any organisation to represent the interests and challenges of every company regardless of size; however, this is where PACE steps in.

Setting the PACE
We have been working with COP26, UN agencies, The World Bank, governments across the world, funds and international partners to provide leaders of Public Listed Companies with the strategies, tools and resources to achieve Carbon Net Zero on a timescale of their choosing.”

Founder, Ross Kingsland
“Most of the 43,000 publicly-listed global companies are largely unengaged from the global conversation for a variety of reasons.”

Through PACE we are focused on economic growth, cost savings, minimising risk and increasing shareholder value through our global partnership and supplier networks while accelerating industry to net zero.”

“We see the carbon challenge as an opportunity”
“Creating markets and shaping innovation policy is crucial to bringing about the technologies needed to close the emissions gap. Common success factors include specialist organizations, such as PACE, coordinating activities across the innovation chain, patient and strategic finance that leverages other actors, and international collaboration has the potential to unlock additional innovation capacity through leveraging greater pools of money and talent and providing an avenue for international best-practice-sharing,” said Mariana Mazzucato UCL – Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.

After recognising the significant underrepresentation public listed companies experience internationally at the hands of government policy, it became clear that PLC had left them flatfooted and reactive to significant changes that had been affecting their performance.

The PACE of change
Noting the recent example of the exhaust standards within the car industry and the direct impact non-conformance had with share price, brand reputation, sales and global quarterly losses, the UK is passing into law that from 2035 (or sooner) there will be no new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars sold as the country transitions to all electric.

In order to accelerate the pace of change and support other governments meet their country carbon targets, PACE is stimulating the industry through peer to peer workshops for policy makers.

Those PLCs joining PACE will set a date that they will be carbon net zero by, they will then submit a baseline of their current impact and note their key milestones to achieve their target. From then, each PLC will annually submit an update which informs whether they are on track or if they have fallen behind.

Yet, what makes PACE unique, is if the latter has occurred, they will step-in to support PLCs course-correct utilising their global network of partners, suppliers, investors and policy makers.

As noted by Alok Sharma President of COP26, PACE is facilitating the unity necessary to meet global climate targets:

“It is outstanding to see PACE bring together major actors to leverage and increase financial commitments and strategies to existing channels and improve the way that money is spent. These plans will be integral to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and maintain global momentum on tackling climate change.”v

The new Impossible Sausage

Following on from the success of the “Impossible Burger”, Impossible Foods has a brand new food item: the Impossible Sausage.
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.

The flagship product, Impossible Burger, was named top plant-based burger by the New York Times and received the Food and Beverage (FABI) Award from the National Restaurant Association.

The privately held food tech startup was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown and investors include Bill Gates, Google Ventures and Horizons Ventures.

Plant-based outperforms animal analogues
Impossible Foods is experiencing unprecedented demand for Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants, the company’s first all-new product, since the 2016 debut of Impossible Burger.

The leading food tech startup launched Impossible™ Sausage in January. Within six months, the savoury patties have become available at more than 20,000 locations throughout the United States.

“We launched Impossible Burger in 2016, when consumers were just starting to get a taste for Impossible products and few realised that plant-based meat could outperform animal analogues in taste, nutrition and convenience,”

said Brown
Best of the Wurst
Winner of the 2020 Food and Beverage Award, Impossible Sausage is a pre-seasoned, pre-cooked savoury patty. A versatile item for drive-through, pickup or dine-in service, Impossible Sausage outperforms conventional sausage from pigs for nutrition and sustainability.

Compared to the leading brand of pork sausage, Impossible Sausage has:

the same amount of protein
60% more iron
45% fewer calories
60% less total fat
50% less saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol.
Impossible Sausage has none of the negative effects of the animal analogue, and it has no antibiotics or slaughterhouse contaminants.

Eating pigs: why bother?
All the buildings, roads and paved surfaces in the world occupy less than 2% of Earth’s land surface, while more than 45% of the land surface of Earth is currently in use as land for grazing or growing feed crops for livestock.

Raising animals for food makes up the vast majority of the land footprint of humanity.

Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined in size by 60 percent in just over 40 years.

Animal agriculture is a primary driver of the accelerating collapse in diverse wildlife populations and ecosystems on land and in oceans, rivers and lakes.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world is home to about 1.44billion pigs; with an average weight of about 112 kg, total farmed pig biomass totals 175 billion kg. That’s nearly twice as much as the total biomass of all wild terrestrial vertebrates.

In order to satisfy humanity’s voracious demand for pork — from Polish kielbasa to breakfast links — 47 pigs are killed on average every second of every day, based on FAO data.

Do the right thing: eat plants
Using pigs as a protein production technology comes with a high environmental cost – on both a global and local scale.

Industrial pork production releases excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment, and the high doses of copper and zinc fed to pigs to promote growth accumulate in the soil.

Faeces and waste often spread to surrounding neighbourhoods, polluting air and water with toxic waste particles.

In addition to the environmental toll, human’s reliance on animals for food has been a public health disaster for at least a century. Consuming animals has been the root cause of a disproportionate number of viruses and pandemics, including:

The 1918 “Spanish flu” (from swine viruses)
The majority of human cases of influenza A (from live or dead infected poultry)
The mission of Impossible Foods is to eliminate the need for animals in the food system.

Transitioning away from eating animal products is one of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of future animal to human pandemics.

Five Champions of Clean Development

Our planet was already facing an emergency before the pandemic – these top individuals and businesses will not forget it.
Despite these challenging times, we must ensure we take this opportunity for reflection. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reminded the planet not to forget the climate emergency, he said that taxpayers money “needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth”, as well as facing the impact of the pandemic.

Here, CleanTech News acknowledges five forces across the world who are driving for a carbon neutral future.

Cleanest Corporate: Nex Group
Nex Group, which focuses on electronic financial markets, has a ‘Giving Day’, in which the company gives away a full-days’ revenue. Approximately £2 million was donated in 2018 and one of the charities to have benefited from this move included the Blue Marine Foundation.

The charity is working to improve sustainable fishing across the world, support fishers and their communities, as well as providing education of marine life and finding answers to untenable fishing procedures. Blue Marine Foundation is currently working in the Indian Ocean to safeguard overfished yellowfin tuna, which is believed to be at risk of total collapse.

Cleanest policymaker: Marianne Kettunen
After studying Ecology, Marianne Kettunen rose to become the Head of Global Challenges in the Institute for European Environmental Policy.

For over 15 years, in various capacities, she has advised the European Union on their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet Kettunen says she is still asking herself every day, what is a good policy recommendation? “To make a good recommendation you also have to understand where the policy is at a given moment and where it’s going next.”

Cleanest startup: Freight Farms
Shipping containers are having a bit of a moment. Following the devastating earthquake in 2011, the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, used the containers to help newly-homeless businesses continue functioning. Now, besides transporting goods, indebted millennials are converting them into off-grid homes and now, farms.

Unlike traditional farms, Freight Farms farm vertically, storing the vegetables in high shelves. Most of the crops are leafy greens, such as kale and lettuce and as the walls are insulated, crops can continue to grow all year. “Freight Farms is helping anyone grow food anywhere in the world”, said vertical farmer, Andrew McCue.

Cleanest leader: Tshering Tobgay
“We are a small, under-developed country, doing our best to survive, but we are doing OK,” said the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, in his TedTalk, “In fact… we are thriving.”

The video has over two million hits on YouTube and helped to raise the profile of the tiny Asian nation, as the only nation on earth to be carbon-negative.

Whilst the vastly bigger Amazon jungle remains the “lungs of the earth”, over 70% of Bhutan is covered in forest. Sandwiched in-between China and India, the landlocked nation is absorbing an estimated six million tons of carbon a year, while producing only 1.5 million tons.

A third of the size of its neighbour, Nepal, Bhutan also boasts a small population of 700,000 and a rising tourism industry.

COVID-19 and the Fashion Industry – How the Pandemic is Encouraging Sustainability

Even in tough times, there are silver linings. Although the global pandemic is causing struggle and strife for the masses, the effects of the pandemic are changing the fashion industry for the better.
In the last few years, the fashion industry has found itself subject to mounting critique, stemming from its careless approach to the climate crisis, and the catastrophic environmental impact of ‘fast fashion’. Indeed, mass production, reduced costs, and speedy delivery have placed the fashion industry as one of the most polluting in the world, accountable for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions per year.

With the global economy experiencing a time of unprecedented stagnation, now more than ever, ethical, eco-friendly business models should be considered, encouraging the adoption of a ‘slow’ fashion concept as the fashion industry begins to rebuild.

Revisiting Business Models
The ‘fast fashion’ model is founded upon consumer demand for low cost and high-speed access to the newest trends. Through rapid design turnover and shorter production cycles, consumers are now able to refresh their wardrobes at an unpredicted rate, with widespread environmental consequences. According to McKinsey, annual global garment production now exceeds 100 billion units, using high volumes of water, whilst contributing to chemical and carbon pollution.

However, with an increasing awareness of the negative effects of fast fashion, almost 50% of shoppers online are now seeking out organic, ethical and vegan garments. Fashion designers are therefore taking the cost to the environment into consideration by launching brands that embrace sustainability.

According to Eileen Fisher, an American fashion designer who has been successfully leading her sustainable fashion brand since 1984, the global pandemic has highlighted that even ethical fashion brands produce too many items. With COVID-19 forcing the closure of 65 of her stores, Fisher is only surer in her beliefs, stressing the need to further simplify the supply chain from clothes, company structure and retail strategy.

“People say during this time they keep wearing the same things over and over because they are comfortable,” said Fisher. “I think we are going to find since we can’t go out shopping, we need a lot less and can live more simply.”

This reflects a shift in mindset, with consumer taste changing from mass market items to more exclusive and ethical. As a result, designers are increasingly trying to maintain a balance between the production and consumption to minimise waste and embrace sustainability.

“Waste, at the end of the day, is a design flaw. It doesn’t exist in nature,” says Gabriela Hearst, a luxury fashion designer and a strong sustainability advocate. She believes that the pandemic will be a good motive to reassess the values by which the industry measures its actions and grow with quality over quantity. With the fashion industry currently generating an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste each year, this change is crucial to building a carbon net-zero world, and an essential focus moving forward.

Increased Brand Transparency
Overproduction and the consequent abundance of inventory also remain of the industry’s most environmentally damaging practices, with British luxury brand Burberry faced public outrage for burning $37 million worth of excess product in 2017. However, Carry Somers, Founder of Fashion Revolution, and Sarah Ditty, Global Policy Director, believe that brands will be forced to modify their business models to survive the economic crisis, thus bringing positive change by mediating overproduction.

Additionally, Somers emphasises the continued importance of the public scrutiny of the relationship between brands and suppliers. With many retail brands withdrawing their orders and delaying payments to suppliers as a result of the pandemic, public awareness will encourage brands to be more accountable for their commitments, both socially and environmentally, galvanising positive change.

“We know that transparency is good for business; we know that it helps to protect the brand reputation ultimately,” says Somers.

Event Cancellations & Carbon Footprints
Finally, cancellation and postponement are the current reality facing fashion shows and events around the world, the impact of which is undeniable. Yet, thanks to companies such as Internet capabilities, a significant amount of fashion events have been able to demonstrate their collections online. Such a digital transformation have benefitted the consumer twofold, with shows becoming less expensive and more accessible.

Meanwhile, digital shows have also reduced the need to travel. A recent study from Zero to Market showed that staggering 241,000 tons of CO2 is generated when travelling for pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear) wholesale buying that takes place during the fashion show weeks. Climate activists and sustainable business supporters expect this novelty to become a new normal for the greener good.

Overall, although challenging, CleanTech News remains hopeful that the current pause forced upon the fashion industry can be utilised, increasing sustainability and reducing the enormity of its current environmental impact.

Eneco Joins Neptune Energy in World’s First Offshore Green Hydrogen Project

The leading European sustainable energy company, Eneco, is the latest to sign onto the world’s first offshore green hydrogen pilot project, PosHYdon, led by Neptune Energy.
With the project due to start in late 2021, Eneco will supply the PosHYdon pilot project with simulated wind data from its offshore wind farm, Luchterduinen. This wind data will enable specialists on The PosHYdon project to accurately model the use of electricity generated by Luchterduinen. This will then power the electrolysis process of the Q13a platform owned and operated by Neptune Energy.

Managing Director of Neptune Energy, Netherlands branch, Lex De Groot, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Eneco onboard as a partner. Their participation will provide realistic data for the pilot, which in turn delivers better insights for the next stages of the project.

“The goal is to obtain valuable lessons for successfully integrating offshore energy systems to support the acceleration of the energy transition, and the Dutch North Sea is ideally suited for this. The ability to convert energy from windfarms to hydrogen, then transport it via the existing gas infrastructure offers major advantages, particularly for those windfarms located much further offshore.”

Ruben Dijkstra, the Director of Eneco offshore wind, said: “Hydrogen is indispensable in achieving the climate objectives to support sectors such as industry, the built environment and transport in their sustainability. With the possibilities of offshore wind and the enormous potential that the North Sea still offers, hydrogen production in the North Sea is an important element in the energy transition.

“Eneco gladly supports the steps being taken in this direction with the PosHYdon pilot. In addition to the technical aspect of offshore electrolysis, Eneco also has a strong interest in developing green hydrogen certificates and adding hydrogen to the natural gas network.”

PosHYdon is an innovative pilot project started by Nextstep, the Dutch association for decommissioning and reuse, in partnership with TNO, the Netherlands organisation for applied scientific research. This exciting venture aims to integrate three energy systems in the North Sea: offshore wind, offshore hydrogen, and offshore gas.

The PosHYdon pilot project will enable participating companies to develop and progress their understanding of hydrogen production in an offshore environment for future applications or expansion into this renewable energy field.

Eneco’s Luchterduinen wind farm is located approximately 23 kilometres off the coast of Zandvoort, the Netherlands and about 25 kilometres north of the Q13a platform itself. For the PosHYdon project, there is no direct connection between the wind turbines and the platform.

The Q13a platform is the first platform in the North Sea, located near the Dutch coast, 13 kilometres from Scheveningen, to be fully operated by electricity let alone renewable electricity. The seawater involved in the PosHYdon project will be demineralised on this platform to produce hydrogen.

Specifically, according to Offshore Wind, a megawatt electrolyser will be placed within a sea container and installed onto the Q13a platform. The platform will then use the wind power to convert seawater into demineralised water to produce hydrogen.

Astonishingly, according to Offshore Wind, not only is the Q13a platform the first fully electrified offshore oil platform, it will save approximately 16.5 kilotons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to 115,500 plane journeys from Amsterdam to Paris.