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Scientists discover new catalyst to turn CO2 into ethanol

Scientists discover new catalyst to turn CO2 into ethanol

The researchers were originally attempting to make a material called grapheme but failed because they did not have the correct equipment.

Instead, they created another new hybrid material consisting of tiny spikes of carbon and copper spears on a surface of silicon, only a few atoms thick.

According to ORNL’s Adam Rondinone, lead researcher on the project, the new catalyst was discovered somewhat by accident when they were trying to study the first step of a proposed reaction, and instead realised that the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own. Read more

Biogas: The ugly duckling of renewable energy

Biogas: The ugly duckling of renewable energy

While the golden children of the renewables sector – wind and solar, will likely take the early glory and admiration of the public, many questions remain as to which other technologies will fill the void.

While it’s widely known that wind turbines don’t produce power with no wind, and solar panels don’t produce power without sunlight, what’s not widely understood is the potential for the ugly duckling of the renewable energy litter – biogas, to prove itself indispensable in providing a base load power supply. Read more

Blockchain P2P trading to support transition to a distributed energy future

Blockchain P2P trading to support transition to a distributed energy future

Using blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) trading to support this transition could be one of the solutions to those challenges, argued David Martin, co-founder and managing director of Power Ledger, during his keynote address at the All-Energy Conference in Melbourne.

According to Martin, the system that we’ve designed and the plans for the systems that we have set out in front of us are based on a historical and dated view of how the system worked. Read more

Framing Australia's climate policy and energy mix

Framing Australia’s climate policy and energy mix

Led by RepuTex head of research Bret Harper, the webinar event discussed the proposed design of energy and climate policy to meet Australia’s 2030 target, including discussion on the recent Framing Australia’s Energy & Climate Policy Mix to 2030 White Paper, and the RepuTex Energy & Climate Policy (ECP) Tool.

According to Harper, the Australian energy and climate landscape is witnessing rapid change, and the Paris Agreement’s set target of 26-28% could potentially grow to about 45-65%. Read more

Absence of waste issues in draft plan "beyond belief"

Absence of waste issues in draft plan “beyond belief”

Released last week, ShapingSEQ seeks to “promote the things that SEQ residents value like a connected region, affordable housing, protecting our natural environment and our unique lifestyle”. It notes that by 2041, SEQ’s population is expected to have increased by two million people.

“One of the most important issues facing South East Queensland is the provision of diverse and affordable housing. The new ShapingSEQ broadens this to include the idea of affordable living. Affordable living is about more than just the cost of a house it’s about how we interact with services and engage with our community,” Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said. Read more

The problem of illegal dumping

The problem of illegal dumping

Case study: refining the definition of waste

Clients regularly ask MRA why they need a waste licence for an activity which on the face of it might not look like waste processing.

Recent Land and Environment Court (LEC) and Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) decisions have clarified the meaning of “waste” in NSW and it is important that people working in the sector understand exactly what the EPA, the legislation, and Courts mean by the term. Read more

NSW council amalgamations - lessons, trends, considerations

NSW council amalgamations – lessons, trends, considerations

On May 12, two proclamations under the Act commenced and 19 newly amalgamated councils began operations, including Armidale Regional Council, the merger of Armidale Dumaresq and Guyra Shire Councils, Inner West Council, comprising Ashfield, Leichhardt Municipal and, Marrickville Councils, and CanterburyBankstown Council, merging Bankstown City and Canterbury City Councils.

12 merger proposals are pending and the Minister has decided that 14 proposals will not proceed, including Manly, Mosman Municipal and Warringah Councils, as well as Tamworth Regional and Walcha Councils. Read more

Giving insights into what prompts significant change in water management

Giving insights into what prompts significant change in water management

Wastewater infrastructure enables cities to develop economies to grow and communities to thrive, but is also a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions – primarily due to inherent inefficiencies.

According to a new research paper by Xylem, Australian provider of water and wastewater solutions, the answers to some of these challenges are already available today, with existing high efficiency wastewater management systems significantly cutting harmful emissions without adding costs to current operations.  Read more

Top tips for planning recycling communications

Top tips for planning recycling communications

The Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) was faced with this challenge after being awarded funding to deliver a set of five region-wide waste campaigns across its population of 1.6 million people, including one focused on improving household kerbside recycling.

SSROC planned to commission an agency to develop strong marketing and communications strategies for each campaign area that would also align with the NSW EPA’s key program resources. However, with a tight budget, a large group of key stakeholders and a diverse population to reach, choosing the right agency at the right price would be difficult without a specific audience, a clear set of outcomes to achieve, and agreement between their member councils. Read more

Insights into GHD's transformational engineering projects in WA

Insights into GHD’s transformational engineering projects in WA

The project diverts water from Bayswater Brook into the reconstructed wetland, which passively treats the water and reduces pollutants flowing into the Swan River.

The project is expected to prevent 1.35t of nitrogen, 200kg of phosphorous, and around 40t of sediment and other rubbish from entering the river.

Key considerations and advice (technical/technology/processes, etc) provided during the project

The design of the wetland has been informed by a detailed understanding of the water and nutrient balance based on hydraulic investigations, site surveys, groundwater and wetland water level logging, and water quality monitoring. Read more