EGEB: Germany builds the world’s first hydrogen train filling station

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 Hydrogen trains in Germany

Germany breaks ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains.

The town of Bremervörde in Lower Saxony, Germany, has broken ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains. Chemical company Linde will construct and operate the hydrogen filling station for the Lower Saxony Regional Transport Company.

The station has a daily capacity of approximately 1,600kg of hydrogen, and it will replace the current mobile filling station, according to Railway Technology.

Construction is expected to start in September, and the station’s completion is planned for mid-2021.

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Tesla rival Nikola scores deal to make thousands of 1,000-horsepower electric garbage trucks

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If Nikola (NKLA) founder Trevor Milton has his way, the garbage trucks emitting black smoke that troll the streets will eventually be a thing of the past.

 Milton and his team at Nikola took a giant step in that mission on Monday.

The upstart electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker announced a deal with waste management giant Republic Services for 2,500 electric, zero emission garbage trucks. A dollar amount for the contract wasn’t disclosed. The deal is expandable up to 5,000 trucks. Full production deliveries are expected to begin in 2023 — road testing is set to commence in late 2021 and early 2022.

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The world’s growing concrete coasts

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The world’s coastlines are turning to concrete, at a huge cost to wildlife and the climate. But new technologies may offer a way to shore up coasts while benefiting biodiversity.

It’s one of the most impressive feats in modern engineering, and crossing the world’s longest sea bridge – the 55km (34 miles) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which opened in October 2018 at a cost of $20bn (£15.9bn) – certainly has its benefits. But impressive as it appears, this mammoth construction project, like so many others, has come at a cost.

No less than one million tonnes of concrete were used in the eight years it took to build the bridge. It was this concrete that invaded the habitat of the critically endangered pink dolphin, and is thought to be the reason that dead dolphins washed up on nearby shores while the population near the bridge plummeted by 60%. Of course, dolphins weren’t the only victims – habitats are destroyed and countless other marine species are affected when large amounts of concrete are poured into the ocean.

Destruction of this kind is often the cost of using concrete – the most widely used manmade material on Earth. With three tonnes per year used for every person in the world, there are few parts of the planet that concrete hasn’t reached. The production of concrete is also a huge emitter of CO2. At least 8% of humanity’s carbon footprint comes from the concrete industry, mostly from the production of cement – one of concrete’s principal components. The cement industry generates around 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2 per year – more than any country other than China or the US.

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In a world-first, Australian University builds its own solar farm to offset 100% of its electricity use

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LIMITING GLOBAL WARMING to well below 2℃ this century requires carbon emissions to reach net-zero by around 2050. Australian households have done much to support the transition via rooftop solar investments. Now it’s time for organizations to take a more serious role.

The University of Queensland’s efforts to reduce its electricity emissions provides one blueprint. Last week UQ opened a 64-megawatt solar farm at Warwick in the state’s southeast. It’s the first major university in the world to offset 100% of its electricity use with renewable power produced from its own assets. In fact, UQ will generate more renewable electricity than it uses.

The Warwick Solar farm shows businesses and other organizations that the renewables transition is doable, and makes economic sense.

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The Great Green Wall of Africa : Is the the next wonder of the world?

 

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“The Great Green Wall promises to be a real game-changer.”

Africa’s Sahara Desert is growing.

In 2018 it was found that the Sahara, the biggest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic, had increased in size by 10 per cent over the last century. This expansion is due to a combination of man-made climate change and natural climate cycles, with most of the change happening along the northern and southern edges of the desert.

Desertification is a major problem around the world, not least in the Sahel region (which runs from the southern belt of the Sahara to the Sudanian savanna below) where some of the world’s poorest communities reside. Despite the Global North being the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, it is people like those living in the Sahel who are paying the price.

The Sahel community are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, dealing with persistent droughts, famines, and rapidly depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis. As a result, millions of people across the region, from Senegal to Djibouti, are being left to handle the severe repercussions of the climate emergency without much help.

This is where the Great Green Wall comes in, a project that could save an entire region from ecological collapse.

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Renault arms entire french town with free electric cars

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Renault wants people to know that it’s easy to go electric.

The automaker giant Renault has gifted an entire village in France its Renault Zoe electric vehicle in a recent power move. The move comes as an effort to demonstrate that EVs are suitable for not only urban areas but also rural communities just as well as gas-powered cars.

Renault offered three-year leases of its Zoe EV to every house in Appy, a small town in the Ariege region of France. There is only one thing the automaker requires them to do: giving Renault periodic updates on whether they like the car and EV ownership or not.

Accordingly, this move will help Renault “understand the way customers interact with and use electric vehicles day to day.”

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Big-money investors gear up for a trillion-dollar bet on farmland

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Ray Williams bought this land just north of the small town of Dumont, in Butler County, Iowa.

For a glimpse of what could happen to a trillion dollars worth of American farmland, meet Ray Williams.

He’s a lawyer-turned-farmer, growing organic grain and feeding young cows on 3,000 acres in northeastern Oregon. Last year, he and his brother Tom decided that they were getting too old for the long hours and hard work.

“We told our clients, you don’t want to rely on senior citizens for your high quality organic products. Trust me on this!” says Williams, age 68.

Their farm sold for $23 million. The buyer was a company registered in Delaware with a mailing address in Manhattan. The people behind that company wish to remain anonymous.

This left Williams with a pile of money to invest, and he parked almost $3 million of it in farmland halfway across the country. He bought 293 acres in Butler County, Iowa, from a farmer named Rich Showalter, and another 160 acres in O’Brien County from the estate of a woman who was born in Iowa but died in Indiana at the age of 100.

The end result: Control over this land has passed to people with little personal connection to it, who live a thousand miles away. The new owners will decide what happens to that land, whether to plow or drain it, or even to stop farming it entirely. Their decisions will have profound effects on rural communities, wildlife and even the global climate.

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Fabien Cousteau is raising $135 million to build the International Space Station of the deep sea

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Concept design for the Proteus undersea habitat.

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famous undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, is building on his family legacy by constructing a state-of-the art research facility—60 feet below the surface of the ocean.

Fabien Cousteau was born to be an aquanaut. The grandson of the famed explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau learned how to scuba dive at the age of four and grew up joining his grandfather on research expeditions. “Scuba diving is an amazing blessing, but there’s a very real limit of time,” he says.

One way to circumvent that time limit is to live in an underwater habitat, which provides researchers the opportunity to do more extended work in the ocean. His grandfather pioneered such habitats in the 1960s, and today Fabien plans to continue that legacy with the construction of Proteus, an underwater habitat and research station that would be one of the largest ever built. The habitat will take three years to complete, located 60 feet underwater in a marine protected area off the cost of Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean Sea. And it will have room for up to 12 people to live underwater for weeks—possibly even months—at a time.

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This is now the world’s greatest threat – and it’s not coronavirus

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An environmental worker stands near an excavator amid waste at Tianziling landfill in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China August 7, 2019.

Affluence is the biggest threat to our world, according to a new scientific report.

True sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes, it argues.

The World Economic Forum has called for a great reset of capitalism in the wake of the pandemic.

A detailed analysis of environmental research has revealed the greatest threat to the world: affluence.

That’s one of the main conclusions of a team of scientists from Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, who have warned that tackling overconsumption has to become a priority. Their report, titled Scientists’ Warning on Affluence, explains that true sustainability calls for significant lifestyle changes, rather than hoping that more efficient use of resources will be enough.

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Smart cities: The future of urban infrastructure

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Songdo in South Korea has been designed with sensors to monitor everything from temperature to energy use to traffic flow. By Timothy Carter

Technology is changing everyday city life, allowing us to instantly adapt to everything from storm threats to traffic jams.

Infrastructure is not exactly the sexiest word in architecture. There are no “starchitects” proudly boasting about their pipe designs or subsurface drainage systems. By its very definition – the underlying structures that support our systems – infrastructure is inherently hidden from us, and therefore often overlooked. But without it our current cities couldn’t possibly exist. Without finding ways to improve it, our future cities will struggle to survive.

Historically, our urban infrastructure has materialised as a response to some emergent or acute problem, like natural disasters. In 2010 it was estimated that over 40% of the global population lives in coastal areas, and much of the large-scale devastation in these areas is due to hurricanes and typhoons. Multi-billion-dollar estimates of infrastructure damage from Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the recent devastation in the Philippines, demonstrate the amount of damage and human cost these disasters create.

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Bacteria that eats metal accidentally discovered by scientists

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Manganese oxide nodules generated by the bacteria discovered by the Caltech team.

(CNN)Scientists have discovered a type of bacteria that eats and gets its calories from metal, after suspecting they exist for more than a hundred years but never proving it.

Now microbiologists from the California Institute of Technology (or Caltech) accidentally discovered the bacteria after performing unrelated experiments using a chalk-like type of manganese, a commonly found chemical element.

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This Company Is Sucking Carbon From the Air and Making Soda With It

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Carbon removal is increasingly seen as a vital part of any climate solution.

 The United Nations calls on countries to curb their emissions and invest in carbon removal technologies to achieve goals set under the Paris climate agreement. Some of these methods are low-technology like planting trees and others, like direct air capture, are cutting-edge. You can join us by taking action here to help achieve the UN’s Global Goal 13 for climate action.

The same carbon that’s heating up the planet could soon be making your soda fizzy.

Climeworks, based in Switzerland, is one of several companies working to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a way to fight climate change — and soft drinks happen to be one of many destinations for the retrieved element. The majority of the CO2 that Climeworks removes gets stowed deep underneath Iceland, in natural formations made of basalt.

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