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'Neutral is not enough': Microsoft pledges to become carbon-negative by 2030

I''m pleased by its new stance, but hope that they will bear in mind the environmental damage caused by regular (and often unwanted) software updates rendering old (relatively speaking) but serviceable hardware unusable, because it is unable to load the latest Microsoft software. Their attitude towards backwards compatibility has been very high handed at times, and relied upon enthusiasts to find work-rounds.

Measuring impact on the SDGs through AI - The PwC blog

The company culture has a foot in productivity rates, employee satisfaction and other key factors of business development. Learn how to upscale your business with the help of company culture on our blog here: https://www.peoplehum.com/blog/hr/systemized-company-culture-and-business-upscaling/#bl

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Nigel - I think the problem is councils and housing associations are basically "ticking a box" by installing ASHP in their housing stock without taking the building standards, customer needs or anything else into account. From what I understand from the lady whose electricity bill went up 4x no one had even been to her house to inspect it before the ASHP was installed. They just bolted it on and ticked the box to meet an arbitrary "eco" target. With all the talk of low carbon and renewable people forget that while the heat source is renewable the compressor and pumps take a fair amount of electricity to power them. At 15p/kwhr you have to get 4x more heat than the electricity used to match the cost of oil or gas fired CH. In winter, at single digit temperatures or below, how much heat can an ASHP extract per unit of electricity? I''ve heard talk of as little as 1kw of heat per kw of electricity which is hardly effective or efficient. As I have said previously when properly designed, installed and fit for purpose, in a properly insulated, energy efficient building Heat Pumps are a valuable addition to the heating options but when they are just thrown on an old, leaky, draughty house to meet a KPI they are totally worthless and completely useless.

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

This is a useful discussion and I''m glad I shrugged off my usual reticence to pick an argument. Interesting point about the cost of the power supply going up so much that it rendered the ASHP installation economically unviable. I have also heard that from a contact who used to work with housing associations, where the ASHPs that had recently been installed all had to be removed again, because the tenants could not afford the electricity bills any longer. But arguably that issue arose because of incorrect specification in the first place. Totally agree with Keiron that it will all depend on proper oversight, to ensure no shortcuts and to ensure that specification, design, build quality etc are all correct. Maybe the various UK heat pump trade associations should be banging that drum alongside the perfectly reasonable argument that we need to escalate the rate of deployment of heat pumps. (I am just a retired tank commander and trouble-maker, by the way, so have no axe to grind in this matter).

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

This is a useful discussion and I''m glad I shrugged off my usual reticence to pick an argument. Interesting point about the cost of the power supply going up so much that it rendered the ASHP installation economically unviable. I have also heard that from a contact who used to work with housing associations, where the ASHPs that had recently been installed all had to be removed again, because the tenants could not afford the electricity bills any longer. But arguably that issue arose because of incorrect specification in the first place. Totally agree with Keiron that it will all depend on proper oversight, to ensure no shortcuts and to ensure that specification, design, build quality etc are all correct. Maybe the various UK heat pump trade associations should be banging that drum alongside the perfectly reasonable argument that we need to escalate the rate of deployment of heat pumps. (I am just a retired tank commander and trouble-maker, by the way, so have no axe to grind in this matter).

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Barry - You are correct that most, if not all problems, come from incorrect design or installation. As I said when they are built in from the start, correctly sized and designed for the building then Heat Pumps work brilliantly. It is just Thermodynamics and you can''t argue with Physics. The danger with this urgent target is we might manage to install 1 million Heat Pumps but without oversight and Quality Control 999,999 of them will be unfit for purpose, badly designed and inefficient which completely defeats the purpose. It is exactly like the lack of oversight and QC in the building industry that is allowing modern homes to end up with thermal bridges, gaps in insulation, gaps and draughts despite the standards stating that modern houses should achieve a minimum energy standard. Slapping a solar panel on a North facing roof shouldn''t mean a box can be ticked. Andy - never heard of CO2 being used as a refrigerant I have to admit and the only Heat Pump I have ever seen for HW used R-132 (an HFC) which proved to be unfit for purpose when I tried it as it took 26hrs to heat my water tank (assuming I actually didn''t take any HW out of the tank!!)

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Kieron re: elephant in the rooms for heat pumps -> CO2 heat pumps do not use refrigerants. However these are mostly used in DHW applications, not for continuous heating.

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

"Seems to me that the key requirement is to get the specification right and then ensure that the system is installed as specified." is entirely correct. As an installer of ERP A++ ASHPs on a UK offshore (subsidy free) market, one also knows first hand how the problem installations can occur - it''s almost always down to incorrect design. With regards to age of buildings, insulation levels - it really is irrelevant to the type of heat source, It is the rated output of the Heat Source and the way the Heat Source Delivers the Heat. The above is In relation to (but not limited to) positioning of equipment, available electrical power supply, pipe sizing & flow rates, heat emitter surface area etc. On a retrofit refurbishment installation, a new ASHP installation easily competes with a new Oil fired installation. On an existent retrofit, on average (in the local market I am based) at least one radiator usually requires replacement, to enable a Heat Output operating at Flow Temperatures optimal for ASHP efficiency (optimal Co-Efficient of Performance) along with a Heat Pump rated Hot Water Cylinder. My house was built in 1890, and the Heat Pump works fine. However every installation has to be assessed prior, as the old methods of Boiler sizes being literally guessed no longer applies.

A Plastic Planet: It's time for activism on climate change and plastics to collide

The problem of domestic plastic waste disposal has two elements. The first is to persuade house holders to separate their plastic waste into a separate container, and secondly to oblige the waste disposal companies to separate this into true waste and recyclable products. This may be made mandatory There are, however some 39 companies, and little if any option to bury the non-recyclable material. Government policy is, however to put the realisation of such activity into private hands, indeed it is mandatory. This is totally unreal since the most profitable operations will be chosen, having a maximum return on investment, cherry picking, in fact. If this hurdle can be overcome, I would suggest that items such as the familiar milk bottle (HDLE), and the clear drinks bottle (PET) should be all be recycled. Products of indefinite or mixed composition, are most easily burned to generate power. The drafting of whole policy should be include staff with the relevant scientific knowledge and experience, qualifications absent from the upper echelons of Government, and sparse in business circles Strong science oriented action is required. Richard Phillips

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

To Keiron. It seems a big jump from ''only truly effective'' to ''absolutely useless''. I''ve heard the ''absolutely useless in existing stock, especially old stock'', many times in the past couple of years. But there is also plenty of empirical evidence that indicates the opposite. It''s not that long ago that I went to a relatively leaky, old listed house that was functioning perfectly well on GSHP. A fossil fuel back-up had been retained, but not used since the system was installed a few years previously. Seems to me that the key requirement is to get the specification right and then ensure that the system is installed as specified.

Urgent boost to offshore wind and CCS required for UK's net-zero target, report finds

Think we need to store a lot more than 176 tonnes of Carbon dioxide....we need the Severn barrage in the mix to help as well.

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Nigel - I can only quote from what other users of these systems have said. One lady I spoke to about an ASHP told me she was now paying 4 times as much in electricity to heat her home since the council installed an ASHP and the house was still cold and now damp. Hardly an effective heating system. Another person who installed ASHP has had it removed and the oil boiler reinstated as it was costing more to heat the home and hot water with the ASHP than with the oil boiler. Again hardly effective and their''s is a fairly new build house (less than 20 years old). I''ve heard other people say they wish they''d never installed ASHP and I know of one person who installed a GSHP only to find they now have to use the electric immersion to provide a tank full (200l) of hot water every day as the GSHP can''t heat the water enough. Properly designed, installed and with a properly insulated (PassivHaus?) building yes Heat Pumps are effective but in our ageing, leaky, poorly insulated housing stock (particularly council/housing association stock) they are proving to be increasingly bad choices and I am yet to be convinced how efficient they are in the Highlands where temperatures are often low throughout winter when you need the heating most.

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

To Keiron. It seems a big jump from ''only truly effective'' to ''absolutely useless''. I''ve heard the ''absolutely useless in existing stock, especially old stock'', many times in the past couple of years. But there is also plenty of empirical evidence that indicates the opposite. It''s not that long ago that I went to a relatively leaky, old listed house that was functioning perfectly well on GSHP. A fossil fuel back-up had been retained, but not used since the system was installed a few years previously. Seems to me that the key requirement is to get the specification right and then ensure that the system is installed as specified.

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Government urged to target one million heat pumps a year by 2035

Heat Pumps (be they Air, Ground or Water sourced) are only truly effective in properly built and insulated buildings with fit for purpose heating systems. They are absolutely useless in most of our current housing stock, even houses built to modern standards leak like a sieve. With virtually no quality control on builders there is no way to say for sure if insulation has been installed properly or that modern housing will actually meet the energy efficiency standards stated. Evidence shows that modern buildings can be twice as energy hungry as the certificate says. Older housing is even worse even if you do add double insulation. I have found at least 2 locations in my house where insulation is totally absent in areas where I have no chance of ever installing it retrospectively. Plus to fit a Heat Pump retrospectively in my house requires a complete overhaul of my "wet" system at a cost of about 18k for the GSHP and 5k for new pipes and radiators to give me a central heating system that may not actually heat my home enough. Then there is the elephant in the system with Heat Pumps. The fluid they use to extract the heat and transfer it is a Hydro Carbon. Or more correctly a Fluoridated Hydrocarbon (HFC). Made from oil and a potent Greenhouse Gas. While in normal use this is not a problem if it leaks it becomes a climate change problem. And 1 million Heat Pumps need a lot of refrigerant to work which means oil. So while they can be effective and are a source of low carbon heat they still need a lot of oil for their construction and operation so don''t call them No Carbon

VOTE: What will be the defining sustainability issue of 2020?

Nature conservation/restoration

BlackRock's climate u-turn and futuristic cities: The sustainability success stories of the week

This is the most exciting thing I have heard for a long time

Electric buses to operate in Glasgow for first time in 60 years

Sorry, but one swallow doesn''t make a summer. We need much faster action - two buses is really disappointing. Sure, we also need to test the vehicles, upgrade electricity connections at charging points, etc., so we cannot do a mass implementation from day 1, but this initiative in Glasgow just seems far too unambitious for 2020. I won''t push too hard that until it closed in 1962 after 90 years, Glasgow had one of the world''s largest (electric) tram networks, with over 225km of routes and as many as 1,000 tramcars...

New Starbucks-led behaviour change scheme aims to double reusable coffee cup uptake

Hi My name is Dennis Collins and I am the inventor of a process that can recycle a normal paper coffee cup 100% We are in the process of building a plant in Australia that can recycle 3.6 million coffee cups a year . The process can remove the plastic in one piece.This leaves the paper plastic free. Please have a look at our web site www.pvcseparation.com Regards Dennis

VOTE: What will be the defining sustainability issue of 2020?

Whilst I think plastics will continue to dominate the media, I think we should be devoting effort to nature conservation and restoration. Until we begin to restore our world to its more natural state (if that will ever be possible) we will continue down the rocky path to devastation. My personal view is that working on this element will naturally lead to improvements in other areas of concern. I am not a great fan of extensive banner-waving as this focuses on one aspect and the full picture is never truly given. We are now reading that alternatives to plastics can have a bigger impact than plastics. This is not a surprise to me but I do know it is to others. This is certainly going to be a challenging time and I would love to see people working together to rebuild our natural world.

Decade of ascendency: New hydrogen fuel cell capacity surpassed 1GW in 2019

It is actually DAVID Hart. With regard to hydrogen: HYDROGEN Much speculation has been made recently upon the possible advent of an economy using hydrogen as a primary source of energy. Consideration has, however, to be made of the physical characteristics of the gas before speculation upon its place as a fuel for any purpose. Occurrence. Hydrogen gas does not occur in nature. All gaseous hydrogen has been long lost from the planet, due to fundamentally low level of the planet's gravity. The most abundant source of hydrogen is as its oxide, water. The other principal source of combined hydrogen is in organic material. Organic chemistry has been described as the chemistry of carbon, but equally valid would be the title "The chemistry of Hydrogen". It is of primary importance, in the commercial use of hydrogen that it does not occur in its elementary state. All hydrogen, for whatever purpose, must be manufactured. This involves energy, in inefficiencies, which is never recovered in its use, and may be as great as 30-40%. Fossil fuels, however, occur naturally with their potential energy as fuels, already in them. The extraction and presentation of fossil fuels at the point of use, requires only a small fraction of the amount of the energy obtained in their use. This is a huge advantage. [It may be observed in passing, that the "Thorium Reactor", so often lauded in the Commons, suffers a similar disadvantage. Thorium is not a fissile element, but has to be irradiated with neutrons in a reactor to convert it into U233, a non-naturally occurring isotope of uranium. The fissile element of uranium used in all reactors as the fuel, is U235, when more is needed, it may be mined and separated. But there is much more thorium available that uranium. See also OKLO] Methods of isolation. All methods of isolation of hydrogen involve the expenditure of energy. The quantity of energy expended in any process will inevitably be greater than the energy recovered in its use. This use will almost uniquely be its oxidation to water. Electrolysis. The passage of a direct current through water containing an electrolyte, results, under controlled conditions, of about 80% of the electrical energy being used in the electrolytic, process. Gaseous hydrogen is evolved at cathode, and oxygen at the anode. Commercial units have been developed the using this process, producing hydrogen at high pressure. The high pressure is reflected in a higher consumption of power than would be required at normal pressure. There is no free lunch. The source of the electricity must, if decarbonisation of the fuel cycle is the intention. be from a non-carbonaceous source. Currently this is cited as a renewable generator, primarily wind. This has the disadvantage of wide variability. Any consequent production of hydrogen from a plant of given capacity is reflected as plant inefficiency. A demand lead source is thus to be preferred. The only candidate for this function is nuclear generation. Methane Reforming. This is a commercially widely used process to convert naturally occurring methane into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. This is achieved by reacting it with steam at a high temperature, followed by a lower temperature catalytic reaction. The CO2 is removed by pressure variable adsorption. Industrial quantities of hydrogen are produced by this process, but the disposal of the residual CO2 has to be addressed for these purposes. Again, it is an energy adsorbing process. Iodine/sulphur thermocycle This process involves the thermal decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen. The water is fed to a mixture of iodine and sulphur, which is successively heated and cooled between about 850oC and 450oC, water being added as it is decomposed. The cycle results in the evolution of oxygen at the lower temperature and hydrogen at the higher. In practice, the operation is complicated by the high temperatures demanding materials resistant to aggressive conditions. The potential benefit lies in the potential use of the high temperature reactor, as a pure heat source. Practical Considerations Its physical properties do not make hydrogen attractive as an energy source. When compared with natural gas, methane, volume for volume, it "contains" about only one third of the energy. As a consequence, a domestic central heating "boiler" would require three times the volume of gas. This would have to be reflected in either gas pipes to be replaced by larger diameters, or for pipe pressures to be increased, over the whole system. The latter would exacerbate both diffusive and simple leakage losses of an expensive fuel. The alternative is electrical central heating. Storage heaters may be used, or the more thermally efficient "heat pump". The scale of electricity generation needed for a country-wide adaption would require nuclear energy, such a scale of renewables is not practical. (Over and above this need there is the total replacement of petrol and diesel fuel) To supply Heathrow with hydrogen aircraft fuel, it has been estimated, would require reactors about three nuclear power stations, some 3GW. Water supply would have to be substantial. Liquefaction of hydrogen is difficult, the processes required falling into the extreme end of cryogenic techniques. Liquid hydrogen has a specific gravity of only 0.07, a large volume is needed for its storage. It is also the reason for proponents of its use as an energy source only ever quoting its energy density in terms of weight. Richard Phillips

Massive rise in EV charging points needed to reach EU climate goals, analysis finds

Or we all need to radically rethink our personal, private transportation options. Electric Vehicles are not the panacea everything says they are. They still need huge amounts of resources to build, including Rare Earth Elements and Hydrocarbons. They still need huge amounts of power generation to charge the batteries. They still create congestion. They still create particulate matter (tyre dust for one). Designing and building new single and twin seat vehicles (town cars, "smart" cars, bubble cars, scooters) instead of massive 7 seater people carriers and luxury 150mph SUVs would help but can we all "afford" to keep having a 5 seat vehicle for daily transport when the vast majority of journeys are within towns and cities and under 10 miles?

VOTE: What will be the defining sustainability issue of 2020?

Energy Storage

VOTE: What will be the defining sustainability issue of 2020?

"It''s not simple" - companies being called out for making changes without checking the replacement is lower impact (eg recyclable plastic cups changed to non-recyclable paper or biodegradable)

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: The Net-Zero November business relay

Thank you for a great podcast. Very interesting.



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