Over the past few years, car manufacturers have been mobilizing to find effective and greener solutions with the aim of replacing combustion engines and achieving the targets on carbon emissions set by the European Union for 2025. In addition, the automotive market has seen the growth and the exponential development of electric battery vehicles to the detriment of those powered by hydrogen, even if the latter technology has the advantage of requiring less time for refueling than that used by electric cars. In order to promote the development of hydrogen batteries, car manufacturers Hyundai and Audi have recently decided to sign an agreement that allows them to freely access the respective technologies – covered by patents – and to share components, such as the new parts developed by Audi, which is responsible for the hydrogen fuel cell technology of the Volkswagen Group, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. Finally, Hyundai hopes that with this new agreement, the production costs of these vehicles will be reduced, thus increasing the demand for hydrogen cars and seeing this technology profitable.
The Circular Economy Network – the circularity observatory created in Italy by the Foundation for the Sustainable Development and a group of 13 companies and business associations, including the GRT Group – has launched the first National Prize “Circular Economy Startups”, dedicated to all startups that develop projects and activities inspired by the principles of circular economy. In order to participate, the startups should submit their ideas by September 24th, 2018: starting from this date the Award Commission, chaired by the GRT Group CEO and Vice President of the Circular Economy Network, Luca Dal Fabbro, will begin to select the ten most innovative ideas in the field of circular economy. The projects and activities of the participating companies will be judged on the basis of specific parameters including the effectiveness of the expected environmental results, the innovative content, the potential economic results and the possibility of diffusion, both in Italy and abroad. Among the ten finalist ideas, the three winners identified will be given the opportunity to join the Circular Economy Network on a free basis. The award ceremony will take place on the occasion of a public event organized by the Circular Economy Network and there will also be a publication containing the references of the companies selected and the reasons that led the jury to award them.
For more information and registration: http://circulareconomynetwork.it/premio-economia-circolare/
In the last few years, the European Union has focused particularly on the issue of pollution of the seas and beaches, caused mainly by the increasingly widespread use of disposable plastic. With the aim of limiting this phenomenon, in fact, the European Commission recently met in Brussels to consider new measures that include banning the ten categories of plastic products that are most commonly found in European seas and beaches. Among these products are, for example, polystyrene cutlery and plates, straws, cotton sticks for the ears and disposable glasses. At this meeting, the European Commission has also selected the new targets to be met by the 28 Member States by 2025, which include recycling of at least 55% of urban waste, a reduction in the use of landfills (up to a maximum of 10%), recycling of 65% of packaging and, finally, the separate collection of textile waste, dangerous waste and biodegradable waste.
An innovative technology to limit the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from Iceland, thanks to the CarbFix project. The Reykjavik Energy association, in collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the University of Iceland and the Columbia University, has developed a method for transforming CO2 into rocks efficiently and effectively. This process is in fact capable of capturing the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, injecting it into the depths of the soil and transforming it into rock, thanks to chemical processes that prevent CO2 from re-entering the atmosphere. Even if the process requires a considerable amount of water, the promoters of the initiative are confident about the future development and increasing sustainability of this technology, even on a global scale. The data recorded last year, in fact, have confirmed the success of this technology, thanks to the 10 thousand tons of CO2, equal to those emitted by 2,000 cars, which were transformed into rock.
In the last few years, the level of attention that Italy pays to sustainability issues has certainly increased and Italians are increasingly adopting measures that have a lower impact on the environment. Much remains to be done, especially with regard to the use of plastic materials in the production of packaging, but even in this context there are signs of improvement: according to the latest Corepla report, in 2017 there are about 7,000 municipalities active in the service of selecting collection of plastic packaging, which recorded a +11% in the quantities transferred to the consortium compared to 2016. 586,786 are the tons of plastic packaging that have been recycled and 324,480 those sent for energy recovery. Furthermore, according to Corepla, the national average per capita of differentiated waste collection rose from 15.8 to 17.7 kg per inhabitant per year, with Sardinia, Valle d’Aosta and Veneto leading the ranking. At the same time, there is an increase in the number of companies and industrial chains that have begun to look for alternative solutions, such as the case of Grom ice cream parlors offering compostable cups. This multi-faceted commitment could help Italy reach the 2020 target of reducing the percentage of plastic packaging going to landfill to zero.
The CEO of the GRT Group Luca Dal Fabbro will participate on 22 May to the meeting “The Hearth of the Circular Economy”, in the context of the “Sustainable Development Festival 2018”, that will be held from 6.30 pm at the Samsung Smart Arena (Via Mike Bongiorno 9, Milan). During the Executive Meeting, the main themes regarding the circular economy will be analyzed and discussed, highlighting how this paradigm represents a winning model that can generate value while ensuring sustainability. In particular, the Round Table will focus on one of the least explored aspects of the circular economy: the valorization of intangible resources. During the debate, Luca Dal Fabbro will present the ideas and observations contained in his recent book “L’economia del Girotondo – Dalla plastica ai satelliti: il futuro è nei rifiuti”. He will also support the need to tackle the environmental challenges, of which the issue of plastic in the seas is the emblem par excellence, resorting to concrete solutions: new systems for energy efficiency, advanced storage systems, recovery of non-recycled plastic. At the meeting, moderated by Maria Luisa Pezzali (Radio24, Il Sole 24 Ore), will attend also Sonia Cantoni (Board Member Cariplo Foundation), Mario Calderini (Vice President Milan Polytechnic Foundation), Luca Angelantoni (Board Member of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of Turin), Karina Litvack (Board Member of Eni) e Tommaso Santini (Managing Director of the Ca’ Foscari Foundation). The round table is sponsored by the Cariplo Foundation, the Ca’ Foscari Foundation and the Milan Polytechnic Foundation.
The California Energy Commission has reinforced its commitment to the development of more sustainable systems by signing an agreement that requires all single-family homes and apartment buildings, built from 2020 onwards, to be equipped with solar panels. This initiative originates from the necessity to find alternative solutions for the production of electricity, which is now still largely dominated by fossil fuels, that still has a total share of 62.7%. The objective set by the Commission is to achieve the “zero net energy”:each building will have to consume the same amount of energy that it can store with solar panels. This is not a trivial energy saving, considering that, according to forecasts, in 2020 about 117 thousands single homes and 48 thousand for multiple households will be built in California.
To use lignosulfonate to produce energy? It is now possible thanks to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
The need to find innovative solutions to produce energy from alternative sources to fossil fuels continues to grow. An exemplary case is the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the United States, where a team of researchers has studied the potential of lignosulfonate – one of the waste products of the paper industry – in the field of energy storage and has developed an effective and sustainable method to use this biomass in order to build rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries. Sulfur in its elemental form is not conductive but becomes conductive when combined with carbon at high temperatures. However, it can easily dissolve into the battery electrolyte, causing electrodes to deteriorate after only a few cycles. This technique provides an easy way to create an optimal sulfur cathode from a single raw material. But above all it allows sulfur to be trapped in carbon, preventing it from “mixing” with the electrolyte. The team of researchers also stated that the prototype of lithium-sulfur battery, which currently has the size of a watch battery and can be recharged about 200 times, will be further refined in the future by resizing the device to increase the charge/discharge speed and duration of the battery cycle.
The results of the three-year study on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) – carried out by 16 international researchers and published by the Journal Scientific Reports – have revealed the true proportions and composition of the plastic island, which is currently floating in the oceans. As a matter of fact, the researchers have confirmed that the GPGP is composed of approximately 80 million kilograms of floating plastic debris of various size and shape, consisting mainly of Polyethylene and Polypropylene, and it covers an area 3 times the size of continental France. Experts have highlighted the urgency of finding a solution to address the situation, especially by analyzing the results regarding the concentration of microplastics in the area –1.8 trillion pieces – which is estimated to further increase by 30 times for a total of about 50 trillion particles. Lastly, researchers have emphasized the necessity to act rapidly, by implementing substantial international measures in the coming decade, with the aim of halting the increasing inflow of plastic waste into the oceans. In addition to that, they have suggested supporting removal initiatives, such as coastal and ocean cleanups, for existing plastics that accumulate in the oceans and threaten the welfare of the marine fauna.
07.04.2018 – GRT Group at the Climate Show 2018: Luca Dal Fabbro presents the two leading technologies of the group
Luca Dal Fabbro, CEO of GRT Group, will participate on Saturday, April 7th, at the “Climate Show“, the exhibition dedicated to technologies and services in the field of green energy, sustainable construction, eco-mobility and fight to climate change. Dal Fabbro will contribute to the “From Research to Market” workshop and will talk about the development experience and the application of Hyform PEMFC, the new system that produces electricity from formic acid in a sustainable, convenient, safe and efficient manner, developed by the Group in collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The workshop will also be attended by Philippe Nasch – representative of Alliance Pour Innovation – and Sophie Jullian – CEO of Satt Pulsalys – who will discuss how best to support innovative companies in the green economy, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technologies from research to business. On the same day, GRT Group will participate, selected together with only seven other companies, in a Pitch Time in front of a jury of investors who will award the “most promising company” in the sector. Luca Dal Fabbro will present on this occasion the plastic to fuel technology, which allows to produce clean, ready-to-use fuel from non-recyclable plastic.