Offshore wind farms to test business in deep water

Advocates of floating offshore wind platforms say they are cheaper to run and install, less disruptive to sea life, and have greater output than near-shore alternatives.

As wind turbines become increasingly familiar sights along shorelines, developers of offshore floating platforms, which harness the powerful winds further out to sea, are seeking to establish their technologies as a major viable source of clean energy. Bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines – with foundations in the seabed – face depth constraints and can only be … Read more

Bill Gates and European Commission launch €100 million clean energy fund

Bill Gates and Commissoner Carlos Moedas committed to establish a fund to get radical new clean energy technologies to market.

Bill Gates and the European Commission have launched a €100 million investment fund designed to bring radical clean energy technologies more quickly to market in order to promote energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking at the launch in Brussels, Belgium, on 17 October, Gates said that science and innovation hold the key to tackling climate … Read more

Hydrogen use doesn’t emit carbon but its production often does. That could soon change

Trucks on Orkney carry hydrogen produced by wind- and tide-powered electrolysis in special lightweight high pressure cylinders, designed to adhere to the low weight limit of the island roads.

Hydrogen can be used to power cars, supply electricity and heat homes, all with zero carbon emissions. The snag is that the vast majority of hydrogen itself is derived from fossil fuels – a fact that scientists are now hoping to change. They plan to clean up production to kickstart a dedicated economy – something that … Read more

Root architecture discoveries could help breed drought-resistant crops

A freesia's root architecture helps the plant store food to survive seasonal weather conditions.

We should breed new varieties of crops based on their root architecture rather than just focusing on the top half of the plant, according to scientists looking at how to cultivate plants that use water more efficiently and better withstand drought conditions. Yellow, parched fields were a common sight in Europe this summer. The severe … Read more

In a zero-waste society, people will need to share and repair

Recycling can be inefficient when parts such as dashboards from cars are too hard to dismantle, says Felipe Maya.

Businesses and consumers need to stop thinking of products as things to own and move towards a culture of sharing and repairing if we are to fulfil the ambition of creating a circular economy, according to Felipe Maya, project and innovation manager at sustainable engineering firm Exergy, headquartered in Coventry, UK. Maya and his colleagues … Read more

Climate actions that lift people out of poverty are often most cost-effective

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would save hundreds of millions of vulnerable people from being exposed to the extremes of a 2°C world.

The most cost-effective climate change actions are also those that could help us achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as ending poverty and hunger, according to Dr Keywan Riahi, director of the energy program of the International Institute Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, who says the first step should be to cut our energy … Read more