LA and the World Economic Forum present blueprint for global UAM adoption

Drone view of downtown Los Angeles or LA skyline with skyscrapers and freeway traffic below.

Clean, safe and inclusive urban air mobility closer to becoming a reality with new partnership

The City of Los Angeles and the World Economic Forum have released a pioneering report that presents a roadmap for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Principles of the Urban Sky advocates a principles-based policy-making framework for the rollout of UAM that protects the public interest to benefit the many rather than just the few.

UAM is an emerging mode of next generation aviation technology that is better suited for urban transport. With vertical takeoff and landing configurations, improvements in energy sources, and improved connectivity, it looks towards piloted or autonomous flights of people and the movement of goods in city centres, suburban and edge of town conurbations.

The report identifies seven principles critical for a scalable UAM policy framework. These include safety, sustainability, equity of access for disadvantaged communities, low-noise, multi-modal connectivity for seamless travel, local workforce development for new air and ground level jobs, and purpose-driven data sharing to respond to the needs of the market.

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World’s first hydrogen-electric passenger flight brings us ‘one step closer’ to zero -emissions air travel

‘The size of this commercially available aircraft shows that paying passengers could be boarding a truly zero-emission flight very soon,’ says ZeroAvia CEO

The world’s first hydrogen-electric passenger flight was successfully completed on 24 September, potentially bringing the aviation industry a step closer to zero-emissions air travel.

The six-seater aircraft did a taxi, takeoff, full pattern circuit and landing at an airfield in Cranfield, England.

ZeroAvia, the company behind the plane, said it was the first ever hydrogen fuel cell-powered flight using a commercial-grade aircraft.

The brand’s retrofitted Piper M-class is now the largest hydrogen-powered aircraft in the world.

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Transforming homes into power stations – how Sweden is disrupting energy production

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  • 54% of Sweden’s power comes from renewables and this energy is increasingly local.
  • Smart grids are switching Swedish homes from energy consumers to power-making ‘prosumers.’
  • Local ‘district heating’ plants use excess heat to warm the majority of Swedish homes.
  • Sweden tops the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transitions Index

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

As well as targeting 100% renewable electricity production by 2040, the country is transforming homes into highly efficient ‘prosumers’ – buildings which both produce and consume the vast majority of their own energy.

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NYC’s newest proposed building would be the city’s tallest – and will act as a carbon emissions filter

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The 2,400-foot-tall building would change New York’s skyline forever.

Paris-based studio Rescubika just released a proposal for a new building in New York City that would both make a mark architecturally and environmentally. The 2,400-foot-tall tower would actually trap carbon emissions, reducing the carbon in the atmosphere.

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California approves largest ever utility program to expand EV charging

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 A charging station for electric vehicles is pictured in Pasadena, California

California on Thursday approved a $437 million effort to build thousands of electric vehicle chargers, its utility regulator said, calling it the nation’s largest ever utility program to expand charging infrastructure.

The money will go to utility Southern California Edison SCE_pe.A to fund the installation of nearly 40,000 chargers, the California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement.

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EV startup Bollinger unveils electric delivery van

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The Deliver-E van will come in a variety of sizes with a range of battery packs for multiple cargo configuration.

 Michigan-based electric truck startup Bollinger Motors hasn’t started production on its rugged electric trucks, the Jeep-like B1 and the B2 pickup, but it’s already rolling out a new vehicle type. This week, the company unveiled the Deliver-E, its all-electric delivery van concept that is slated for production in 2022.

A lot of companies, from legacy automakers to tech startups, are developing their own electric delivery vans right now. But what sets Bollinger apart is the variability of its platform. The EV startup is promising a variety of battery pack sizes, including 70 kWh, 105 kWH, 140 kWh, 175 kWh, and 210 kWh. This will mean customers will have a variety of range-options, prices, and wheelbase sizes to chose from. The front-wheel-drive platform will be engineered to fit Classes 2B, 3, 4, and 5, Bollinger said.

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Volta Zero is an electric delivery truck built just for cities

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DPD will start using the EV to deliver parcels in London next year.

 Volta Trucks

A Swedish startup named Volta Trucks has unveiled its first vehicle: an electric truck designed specifically for city parcel and freight deliveries. The Volta Zero is scheduled to start production in the UK in 2022, and the company is aiming to have as many as 500 vehicles on the road by the end of that year. While it’s far from the first EV designed with parcel delivery in mind — Amazon plans to use electric vans from Rivian and Mercedes—Benz to deliver customers’ orders — Volta Trucks has forged significant partnerships that could give it a role in shaping the future of deliveries.

European delivery service DPD will launch a pilot test using the Volta Zero to service customers within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in the first quarter of 2021. The company also told Reuters that it has “well progressed with another seven or eight customers.”

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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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Zin Boats reinvents the electric speedboat in a bid to become the Tesla of the sea

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The automotive industry is knee deep in the vast transition to electric, but one place where gas is still going strong is out on the water. Seattle startup Zin Boats wants to start what you might call a sea change by showing, as Tesla did with cars, that an electric boat can be not just better for the planet, but better in almost every other way as well.

With a minimalist design like a silver bullet, built almost entirely from carbon fiber, the 20-foot Z2R is less than half the weight of comparable craft, letting it take off like a shot and handle easily, while also traveling a hundred miles on a charge — and you can fill the “tank” for about five bucks in an hour or so.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, it ain’t cheap. But then, few boats are.

Piotr Zin, the company’s namesake, has been designing racing sailboats for 20 years, while working in industrial design at BMW, GM and other major companies. Soon after settling down on a houseboat on Seattle’s Lake Union, he realized that the waterways he had enjoyed his whole life might not exist for the next generation.

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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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