Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “environment”

Lignin – Plant Based Plastic Substitute

If current developments in plastic consumption aren’t curbed, at some point there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. One solution could be the replacement of fossil-based plastics with plant based materials, that are biodegradable. A key material is Lignin, a class of complex organic polymers.

[] – Company site
[] – Lignin
[] – Avantium
[] – “Bio Roads”, substituting 30% bitumen with lignin
[] – Avantium and Roelofs construct the world’s first test road with lignin produced in the Netherlands

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European Green Deal in Three Minutes

World’s First Eco-Friendly Coffin.


Youtube text:

A Dutch inventor, Bob Hendrikx, has manufactured the world’s first mycelium-based coffin that decomposes bodies organically and allows for nutrients to be reabsorbed by the soil and the relevant organisms living in it. Bob is a graduate at the Delft University of Technology where he worked on producing a concept of the world’s first living architecture with mycelium. At present, he is a founder and bio designer at Loop, a startup specialising in making the mycelium-based coffins commercially feasible and available.

The product offered by Loop has been dubbed the “living cocoon” and is primarily composed of mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that takes the form of a mass network of white filaments referred to as hyphae.

The first funeral with a mycelium-based coffin took place last week, in which an 82-year old woman was buried in the environmentally-conscious casket at Wesduin cemetery at The Hague. It is expected that the body will decompose within two to three years. In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Hendrikx commented: “A person lost his mom and for us, it was a milestone but also sort of an emotional moment because somebody’s actually using your product and you’re making them happy.”

The innovative coffin also features a moss bed, which lines the inside of the coffin to “start decomposing the body much faster than the normal process because this is the way nature intended it,” according to Hendrikx.

The production process can take several weeks and every mycelium-based coffin costs between €1,500 and €2,000 ($1,776 to $2,368). The mycelium is grown in the shape of a coffin and once ready, dried naturally which stops its growth. When exposed to groundwater, the mycelium comes alive, starting the breakdown process.

A Dutch funeral company has already included the mycelium-based coffin in their commercial offering.

Milan Using Corona Crisis to Make City More Bike-Friendly

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Italy, but thanks to Corona, the air in the city has really become cleaner. The city council doesn’t want to waste the Corona-crisis and seize its chance to push-back the use of the car in the city. 55% of the citizens of Milan already use public transport. The average travel distance in the city is 4 km, suitable to bridge with a bicycle or even walk. Milan now wants to re-model the city and make it more attractive for these two more modest modes of private transport, especially since the “6 feet society” will be around for the foreseeable future, giving walking and cycling a distinct advantage over public transport.

[] – Milaan grijpt coronacrisis aan om van autoparadijs een fietsstad te maken

ECOdorp Boekel

Ecodorp Boekel is a sustainable living project, consisting of 30 climate-adaptive, climate-positive rental homes, 6 informal care homes, community center, knowledge and education center, workplace and offices, with opportunities for food and energy supply, ecological water treatment and sustainable businesses. The eco-village is being build since 138 days now together with ecological contractor Eco + Bouw and architect Huub van Laarhoven, financially supported by the Noord-Brabant province and the EU.

[] – Project site
[] – Project status
[Google Maps] – ECOdorp Boekel location

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Green Corridor

Core “Green Corridor” agreement: to build a “climate neutral transport corridor” between Zoeterwoude (Heiniken brewery) and the Port of Rotterdam. Participants: Nedcargo, province South-Holland, HEINEKEN Nederland, Port of Rotterdam N.V., municipality Alphen aan den Rijn, Zeeman, Hartog & Bikker, Rijkswaterstaat, Eneco and municipality Bodegraven-Reeuwijk.

Electric trucks and inland e-shipping coming up. Heineken. Beer.


[] – Organisaties tekenen intentieverklaring Groene Corridor
[] – Heineken verricht doop nieuw duurzaam containerschip van Nedcargo in Rotterdam


Christening of the (hybrid) e-ship Bon Jovi of Nedcargo.

[] – De binnenvaart gaat elektrisch, dankzij Bon Jovi

Heineken invests in 4 wind turbines for own use.

Boyan Slat Unveils The Ocean Cleanup Interceptor

Ocean Cleanup Reports Initial Success

Ocean Cleanup is a Dutch initiative to develop maritime technology to cleanup the world’s oceans from garbage like plastic. In the ideal case the world community would finance a fleet of dozens of these ships and clean up the entire ocean surface water. In the long run it would be more effective to install filters at the mouth of the world’s largest rivers, currently the largest source of plastic pollution, especially in China and the third world.

[] – Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time
[] – Ocean Cleanup Project site
[] – 90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers


The Yangtze River is the worst by far.

Closed Circle Plastic Production


Dutch startup Fuenix has developed a method of turning ‘post-consumer’ plastic waste into oil and from there into brand new plastic and got chemical giant Dow interested to
scale up the process for prime time. Fuenix claims that they can achieve a conversion efficiency old plastic –> new plastic of 70%, eliminating half the carbon dioxide emissions that result from plastic production from oil. Dow’s goal: at minimum 100,000 metric ton of recycled plastic by 2025 in the EU.

[] – Dow and Fuenix Ecogy Group Sign Circular Plastic Production Deal
[] – Fuenix company site

Can We Terraform the Sahara to Stop Climate Change?

David Suzuki – It’s Time to Think About Human Extinction

David Suzuki explaining why the renewable energy transition is necessary.

[] – David Suzuki

Ocean Cleanup Runs Into Trouble

[] – Great Pacific garbage patch $20m cleanup fails to collect plastic
[] – Ocean Cleanup

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Earth, if All the Ice Melts

Large parts of China, Florida, Mississippi River delta, Teas, India, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Denmark, East-England, Australia, Cuba… would disappear.

[] – Full Fledged 5 Alarm Climate Emergency In Antarctica

Cleaning the Oceans from Plastic

Swiss, Dutch and American initiatives to clean up the world’s oceans from plastic, mainly originating from Asian rivers.

[] – SeaCleaners
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Almost all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers

The Great Nutrient Collapse


Researchers claim that increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere is not good for the quality of the food we ate.

[] – The Great Nutrient Collapse


Big Money Wants G20 to Adhere to Paris Accords


Money talks. Coinciding with the current G20 Summit, which is not a coincidence, nearly 400 global investors, worth a combined $22 trillion, have urged G20 leaders in an open letter to stick to the Paris Climate Accords and implement it swiftly.

[] – Nearly 400 global investors urge G20 to stand by Paris Agreement
[] – Letter From Global Investors to Governments of the G20 Nations

Prof. Olaf Schuiling has a Solution for the CO2 Problem

2009 Shell subsidized olivine test in Brennels/Flevoland [Google Maps]

Olaf Schuiling (1932) is an emeritus professor in geosciences at the university of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He has a background in petro-science and geology and has spent some time at Princeton as a NATO research fellow. Between 1972-1997 he was professor in geochemistry and experimental petrology in Utrecht.

Prof. Olaf Schuiling’s main claim to fame is that he believes that he has the solution for global warming, caused by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, due to burning of fossil fuel: olivine:

This month, Schuiling has published his new book Olivijn, de steen der wijzen (Olivine, the stone of wisdom). Schuiling especially targets the idea of sequestring CO2 in the earth. Olivine will provide the solution for a fraction of the cost. One kilo olivine can bind 1.25 kilo CO2.

Schuiling wants to use the abundantly present mineral olivine (Mg2SiO4/Fe2SiO4) to reabsorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The idea is to grind olivine and let it react with water and CO2 from the atmosphere. The resulting bicarbonate dissolved in water will flow to the sea, where it will settle out as limestone and coral.

Schuiling proposes to pulverize an olivine mountain of 7 km3/year and spread the powder over land and beaches. When the olivine has done its work it can be plowed under and as such enhance the fertility of poor soil. Huge olivine reserves exist in China, India en Brasil. Cost 10-15 euro per ton olivine. Sequestering CO2 like was proposed and cancelled in the Netherlands in contrast costs 70-100 euro/ton CO2.

Olivine is relatively equally distributed over the earth’s crust, so there is no need for large transportation effort. All it takes is deposit a layer of 3.5 mm olivine powder on an area of 2 million km2, that’s four times France, every year, to neutralize that year’s global CO2 emissions.

Schuiling is participating in the Al Gore/Richard Branson VirginEarth Challenge, a contest for offering a solution to CO2-sourced climate change and has made it to the final 11:

[] – Virgin Earth Challenge: How Goes It?

Evaluation: what is lacking is an evaluation of the energy cost to mine, grind and disperse olivine. As far as we are concerned it seems to make more sense to get away from using fossil fuel poison first, as proposed for instance by the European Union renewable energy policy. It doesn’t make sense to ‘mop with the tap wide open’, so to speak. As a measure of last resort this kind of megalomaniac-sounding scheme could be considered to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels after the transition has been accomplished.

At [4:18] Richard Branson

[] – Olivine
[] – Olaf Schuiling
[] – Smart Stones
[] – Let the Earth save the Earth
[] – Groot plan voor de planeet
[] – Een paar km3 olivijn om het klimaat in de hand te houden
[] – Emeritus hoogleraar gelooft nog steeds in olivijn, een steen die CO2 slurpt
[] – Olivijn, de steen der wijzen

Bloomberg – Peak CO2 Emission from Power Generation in 2026

CO2 emissions from power generation will peak in 2026, and be 4% lower in 2040 than they were last year, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Much of this will be due to “unstoppable” renewable energy sources undercutting the majority of existing fossil fuel power stations, with the cost of solar dropping 66% by 2040, and onshore wind by 47%.

[] – Global CO2 emissions to peak in 2026
[] – Energie uit zon en wind groeit veel sneller dan verwacht

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