In the spotlight
Is this the world’s most ambitious renewable energy project?
The world’s most ambitious renewable energy project to date is the proposed Australia-ASEAN Power Link. This project would combine the world’s largest solar farm, the largest battery, and longest undersea electricity cable.
Europe — an offshore wind champion in the making
As Europe continues to green its economy over the next decades, we will be sourcing more and more of our electricity from mighty wind turbines anchored far out at sea. The International Energy Agency estimates offshore wind could become the EU’s largest single source of electricity by 2040 if the bloc reaches its climate neutrality goals. Norwegian energy major Equinor is keen to see that happen quickly, safely and sustainable.
Renewable electricity set to power past coal and gas by 2025
Cost reductions and pressure to meet climate targets provide favourable environment for clean energy producers, despite fall in overall energy demand. Global economic growth has dropped this year because of Covid-19 and the energy sector has been among the hardest-hit, with oil prices at one point turning negative as demand slumped.
Agriculture & Environment
Black Friday emissions boom predicted
Lockdown brought an online retail bonanza, and this year’s Black Friday is expected to be the biggest ever. But each delivery generates carbon dioxide so emissions will spike. It’s made worse because the concentration of demand to a short space of time overloads the capacity of firms to deliver in the normal way.
What climate policy could look like under a President Biden
President-elect Joe Biden can expect to face fierce political opposition as he seeks to implement what amounts to the country’s boldest-ever plan for combating climate change. Given those obstacles, can he actually get anything done? Actually, yes. A Biden administration can help the economy go green without ever involving Congress.
Transport & Energy
Europe’s Tesla rival is fixing the huge battery recycling mess
By 2025, it’s predicted that electric and hybrid cars will account for 90 per cent of the lithium-ion battery market. That’s a lot of batteries that will, one day, need disposing of. In the race to switch from fossil fuels to electric vehicles, a new challenge is emerging: what do you do with millions of spent batteries?
Air travel’s date with sustainability draws nearer
Aviation is gearing up for big changes in how the industry is regulated, as climate targets bite. The options available to decarbonise planes are plentiful and the challenge now is to invest enough resources in tech upgrades and regulatory tweaks to get the job done.
EU vs US tech agenda under Biden
Over the past couple of years, tensions between Europe and the United States have also been reflected in the digital area. The Donald Trump-led push against Chinese providers of 5G technology, the invalidation of the US privacy shield by the EU Court of Justice, and Europe’s plans to impose digital taxes have added to the crisis in transatlantic relations.
Robots to take on more supermarket tasks
The next time you pack your bags at the supermarket checkout, give yourself a small pat on the back. A task which is so simple for humans – quickly and efficiently packing a bag of groceries of different sizes and shapes without crushing anything – is something that until recently has been beyond the abilities of robots.
Bitcoin is COVID immune!
The SARS-CoV-1 coronavirus pandemic has left a significant footprint on the global economy. For this reason, it had a substantial impact on the behaviour of all financial instruments, including cryptocurrencies.
People suffering depression and anxiety want to reveal their pain — to a robot
Hundreds of millions of people around the world were suffering from common mental health issues including anxiety and depression before Covid-19 and the scale of the health-care crisis has escalated as a result of the pandemic. But demand for mental health services is far outstripping the available supply of trained professionals.
Food & Health
The Covid-19 vaccine will need to have a flawless PR strategy
There is, as you probably know by now, a very long list of things that need to happen before a coronavirus vaccine can be rolled out across the country: raw materials need to be sourced, a sub-zero, Brexit-proof distribution system needs to be designed and implemented, and difficult decisions about who should get the first, scarce doses need to be made.
Measles deaths soared worldwide last year, as vaccine rates stalled
Measles deaths worldwide swelled to their highest level in 23 years last year, according to a report released Thursday, a stunning rise for a vaccine-preventable disease and one that public health experts fear could grow as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt immunization and detection efforts.
Accuracy of rapid Covid-19 antibody test ‘may be lower than previously suggested’
The accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for coronavirus may be considerably lower than previously indicated, a new study suggests. The results, published in the BMJ, suggest that if 10% of people given the test had previously been infected, around one in five positive test results would be false positives.
Science policy & Communication
Japanese medical researchers can now join ERC funded teams
The European Research Council signs third agreement fostering fundamental research collaboration with Japan.The European Research Council (ERC), the EU‘s basic research funding agency, now welcomes researchers backed by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) to join its research teams.
No defense against lies
We saw it happen during the economic crisis and now we’re seeing it happen again with the pandemic: the dissemination of unfounded explanations and theories, fake news and fake science on the dark side of the public sphere, and mainly through social media.
Commission invites comments on revision of Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
The European Commission is inviting comments from interested stakeholders on certain aspects of the guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy, in view of their planned revision.
Commission launches consultation on Zero Pollution Action Plan
The Commission has launched an open public consultation on an EU Action Plan ‘Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil – building a Healthier Planet for Healthier People’.
Why NASA wants to put a nuclear power plant on the moon
NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy will seek proposals from industry to build a nuclear power plant on the moon and Mars to support its long-term exploration plans. The proposal is for a fission surface power system, and the goal is to have a flight system, lander and reactor in place by 2026.
Town deploys “Monster Wolf” robots to scare away wild bears
A town in northern Japan has recently been plagued by a plethora of wild bears, roaming around neighborhoods and petrifying residents. In an attempt to prevent attacks, the town of Takikawa has now installed terrifying robotic wolves to howl at the bears and scare them off, Reuters reports.