Snippets for 31 March 2022






Thanks for reading our Snippets newsletter this week. We have once again included a mixed selection of articles we hope you find interesting.

Vladimir Putin’s actions are having impacts globally. But it is encouraging to see that his actions have turbocharged the development of green hydrogen and the long term shift away from using fossil fuels to create it. Australia has the potential to add to green energy & hydrogen, and to power other nations. It has enough wind and solar resources to more than double the worlds hydrogen production. Possibly a "win/win" for Australia and neighbour nations. The Northern Territory seems to agree. They are passing a bill to provide certainty around a $30 billion project for the world's largest solar farm and a 4,000km undersea power cable to Asia.


LanzaTech, a company originating in NZ, is doing amazing things in the alternative fuels space, and is also well down the track with carbon capture technology. Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech CEO, provides some great insights into the industry. A game changer for us all?


Many of us live in cities , where long supply chains exist to get all types of goods and products through to inhabitants. Maybe building owners could rent roof top space to grow more produce locally? Other gains - more biodiversity, and maybe an improved sense of community.


We take a look at the history of Biochar, and some potential benefits, from controlling organic waste matter to it being used as a substitute for some building materials.


Building roads can have serious impacts for the local wildlife. To address one example of this issue, a land bridge is being constructed across the one of the busiest roads in America, Route 101. The bridge will allow animals to cross the road as if it wasn’t even there!


Trees are important, no matter where they are, or the numbers growing. Research shows that trees on the fringe of larger forests and in city parks store more CO2. The reasons for this are discussed.


We finish this week with a look at Kiwirail's old TR56, an 85 year old shunt engine which is entering retirement, and it’s replacement, a fully electric zero emissions shunt.


Two new reports from leading market analysts have singled out green hydrogen as a sector that stands to be “turbocharged” as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, European gas prices have jumped more than six times higher, pushing up the cost of blue and grey hydrogen in line with rising fossil fuel prices. This has now made green hydrogen at $6.18/kg powered by wind and using alkaline electrolysers, cheaper than their fossil fuel competitors. Read more....


And the more renewable generation we have the lower the cost of green hydrogen. Recent research by the Australian National University has highlighted the enormous potential for Australia to position itself as a major global supplier of renewable energy and other zero emissions resources. And the numbers are staggering. Using just 2 per cent of Australia’s landmass for the production of wind and solar energy, Australia could produce as much as 7,000TWh a year of renewable electricity and export about 540TWh of electricity and 65 Mt of green hydrogen. Read more....

The Australian Northern Territory Government seems to agree, as they get ready to pass a bill providing certainty for the $30 billion Sun Cable Australia-Asia Power Link. The scheme will include the world’s largest solar farm and battery, plus a converter site and transition facilities comprising more than a 4,000km undersea cable that will pipe renewable energy to Darwin, and then on to Singapore, where it has been estimated the project could supply up to 15% of Singapore’s electricity needs, starting from 2027. Read more....

Our next article examines the remarkable professional journey of Jennifer Holgrem, a Colombian born chemist and the New Zealand start-up LanzaTech. The company now valued at US$2.2 billion, converts carbon waste from industrial smokestacks, agriculture and landfills into ethanol used by its partners to make a whole slew of products, including dishwashing liquid for Unilever, household cleaners and plastic packaging for Mibelle, perfume for COTY, and dresses for Zara. One of the company’s main goals is stop the world burning fossil fuels. Read more....


The pandemic, war in Ukraine, and natural disasters have all highlighted the fragility of the global food system. All around the world, communities are faced with food insecurity, as their ever vital food supply chains come under threat. This article poses a solution: Agritecture - or incorporating food production into building design. There are many benefits: immediate return on investment, improved food security, improved human health, and more. The takeaway is we need to be thinking about bringing the food we grow, closer to where we live. Read more....

There are people embracing the ethos of our previous article. Our next article looks all around the world at communities that are introducing nature, and food, to their cities. There are rooftop gardens in France and Belgium, bee-keeping in Berlin, indoor farms in Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and community gardens in Chile. Regardless of the specifics of the project, the aims are the same: bring nature and green space to our concrete jungles, while improving food security. Read more....

A technique that indigenous Amazonians have been using for thousands of years, might have a place in the toolkit of a number of industries that are looking to reduce their carbon footprints. Biochar is a fine charcoal, created by burning agricultural waste at high temperatures, with low oxygen. It’s remarkably stable structure not only enhances soil like a fertiliser, but it can also lock up carbon for thousands of years. It can be used in waste management, farming, building, and much more. Read more....



Roads can have a serious impact on nature and the wildlife that lives in the area. What may have once been a prime feeding area is now not accessible. The Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon in the USA is looking to address issues in this area. At a cost of US $87 million dollars, the project will allow all types of wildlife to safely cross one of the busiest roads in the US. Read more....





All trees are important and Boston researchers have found that trees and soil on the outmost edges of forests and city parks may play a greater role in fighting climate change than previously thought. The team looked at more than 48,000 forest plots in the Northeast United States. They found trees on the edges grow nearly twice as fast as interior trees—those roughly 100 feet away from the edge. Read more....



In our final article this week, Kiwi Rail has just retired it’s oldest diesel shunter at 85 years old. And also introduced It’s replacement, which is all electric and half the size. Kiwi Rail is investing in more electric battery powered locomotives, with 16 already purchased. Plus, they are purchasing 57 Locos for the South Island that will be built to the highest European emissions standards, on their journey to lower emissions. Read more....









This week we have one innovative idea we hope you find interesting:

  1. GE Produces world-first prototype of fully recyclable wind turbine blade







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