Shipping line giant, A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced that its entire fleet of vessels will be assisting in a global research initiative on weather patterns and climate change. Read more
Concrete made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing is being used in a world-first green roads trial in Sydney.
The City of Sydney is putting the environmentally friendly building product to the test on a busy inner-city street, replacing a 30 metre section of roadway on Wyndham Street in Alexandria.
To test the green concrete’s durability, the City has laid 15 metres traditional concrete and 15 metres of Geopolymer concrete, a sustainable blend of concrete and recycled materials.
As a major road leading to Sydney Airport, the high traffic volume provides the perfect conditions for the trial.
Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the Geopolymer concrete performs.
UNSW Sydney researchers and the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) will then use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for Geopolymer concrete.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was committed to finding new ways to lower carbon emissions.
“I’m proud that the City of Sydney was Australia’s first carbon-neutral local government and that we’re continuing to take significant steps to reduce our carbon footprint,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Projects like this Geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions.
“Local governments are responsible for maintaining local roads, so if we can purchase more environmentally sustainable materials, we can fight climate change and provide quality infrastructure for our community.
“With 70 per cent of the concrete produced today going into pavements and footpaths, there’s great potential to further lower emissions from our operations.
“We’re continually working with concrete suppliers to reduce the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases emitted during the production of concrete for our local roads, and we already use sustainable green concrete for all our footway renewal works – which adds up to 25,000m2 per year.”
Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, Geopolymer generates just 300 kilograms of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared to the 900 kilograms from traditional cement production – saving the equivalent of the electricity used by an average household every two weeks.
Research has been undertaken since the 1990s into geopolymer, but it’s only now that it is being explored as a product that is not only better for the environment, but also commercially viable.
The low-CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use. Whilst a small amount is currently used in construction, much of it is currently stored on site.
UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years. Professor Stephen Foster, Head of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the CRCLCL project leader and describes the trial as “a huge step forward”.
“This trial will help drive step-change in the industry. Many concrete companies are already doing a lot to change, but this trial really gives it another push,” Professor Foster said.
“While we’ll monitor the road performance for up to five years, a lot of the data collected in the first three to twelve months of this world-first trial will be used to confirm our models and strengthen our predictions.
“Concrete contributes seven per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018 the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement, which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2.
“Alternative, low-CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete.
“This trial is important because we need demonstration projects to accurately assess the performance of Geopolymer over time so that there can be broader uptake.”
Industry partner Craig Heidrich, executive director of the Australian Iron and Steel Association and Ash Development Association, said the benefits of the trial will be far-reaching.
“Our collaboration with organisations such as the City of Sydney and the publication of the research findings will further de-mystify and promote the use of Geopolymer concrete in construction.
“Geopolymer concrete has great engineering properties. It is a durable, high-performance product that has a low carbon footprint when used in construction,” Mr Heidrich said.
“It’s a fundamental tenet in business that you need to be constantly innovating and investing into new technologies. This trial will provide real examples of Geopolymer concrete use that we can all use.”
Associate Professor of Sustainability Research at UNSW Dr Tommy Wiedmann said if all concrete produced in one year was Geopolymer instead of traditional concrete, this would save 12,000 kiloton CO2 per year.
Makers and suppliers of diesel engines, equipment and fuels embrace the global challenge of a cleaner environment by taking positive actions to use less energy and reduce emissions whilst also enabling the prosperity of peoples and countries around the world. Read more
A new order for an additional 1,000 three-wheeled electric delivery vehicles (eDV) by Australia Post is set to make it the nation’s largest electric vehicle fleet operator.
Australia Post group chief operating officer Bob Black said the 1,000 eDV boost its existing fleet of electric postie vehicles – including electric pushbikes – and creates a range of benefits for posties, customers and the environment.
“We are proud to soon be operating Australia’s largest fleet of electric vehicles, and hope this will set the standard across Australia,” Mr Black said.
“With parcel volumes growing – on average, close to 10 per cent each year for the last three years – and letter volumes declining, we’re always looking for ways to ensure our posties continue to play an important and sustainable role in the community.
“These vehicles offer additional carrying capacity, so our posties can deliver more parcels than ever before directly to the customer’s door – and can perform additional functions, such as collecting mail from street posting boxes.”
Along with delivery benefits, Mr Black said the electric vehicles also offer added safety and environmental protections.
“The eDV are safer than the traditional motorcycle. They are easier to see on the road, more stable, have increased rider protection and lower on-road speeds, all of which reduce a postie’s exposure to incidents and serious accidents.
“We started trialling eDV in 2017 and we’ve since deployed them in all states. We have worked closely with our posties to make improvements along the way.
“Our posties love the eDV because they demonstrate our commitment to providing safer and more sustainable employment into the future, given consumers are sending fewer letters and relying more and more on their postie to deliver their parcels.
“They will also help us achieve our commitment of reducing our carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.”
Deployment of the additional 1,000 vehicles is expected to start from June across all states.
Along with the additional 1,000 eDV Australia Post will also roll out an additional 4,000 electric pushbikes, bringing its total to 5,980 over the next three years.
FedEx has announced it is expanding its fleet to add 1,000 Chanje V8100 electric delivery vehicles. FedEx is purchasing 100 of the vehicles from Chanje Energy Inc and leasing 900 from Ryder System, Inc.
The purpose-built electric vehicles will be operated by FedEx Express for commercial and residential pick-up and delivery services in the United States.
“FedEx continually seeks new ways to maximise operational efficiency, minimise impacts and find innovative solutions through the company’s Reduce, Replace, Revolutionise approach to sustainability,” said Mitch Jackson, FedEx Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our investment in these vehicles is part of our commitment to that approach of serving our customers and connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully.”
The vehicles are manufactured by FDG in Hangzhou, China, and purchased through Chanje Energy Inc., the company’s subsidiary for global business. Ryder System, Inc. will provide support services for all of the vehicles.
The EVs can travel more than 150 miles when fully charged and have the potential to help FedEx save two thousand gallons of fuel while avoiding 20 tons of emissions per vehicle each year. The maximum cargo capacity is around 6,000 pounds. All of the EVs will be operated in California.
FedEx has been using all-electric vehicles as part of its pickup-and-delivery fleet since 2009. We believe that wider adoption of alternative-fuel, electric and hybrid electric vehicles will play a key role in reducing global emissions, while diversifying and expanding renewable energy solutions.
The ISO Draft International Standards for Drone Operations have been released for public consultation, with the final adoption of the world’s first drone standards expected in 2019.
The rules, which form a voluntary code of practice, are the first set of international standards for drones.
“Most drone makers are doing everything they can, but some don’t use existing materials. They may not come from an aviation background, for example. Everybody across the industry believes drones can be safe and of great benefit to mankind. Operators and service providers alike are keen to establish a baseline,” Robert Garbett, ISO drone expert said.
The standards include a flying “etiquette” around no-fly zones, geo-fencing technology that can stop flights in restricted areas, flight logging requirements as well as training and maintenance standards.
They also call on flyers to keep drone hardware and software up to date and have a human monitor for all flights.
Dr Lorenzo Grande, IDTechEx
The Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI) has submitted a subsidy policy for environmentally friendly trucks, which has been published in the Federal Gazette at the beginning of June.
Both battery-powered and fuel cell-powered electric vehicles are eligible, as long as they are intended for goods transport. In addition, their gross vehicle weight must be at least 7.5 tonnes.
The subsidies amount to € 12,000 (approx. AUD 19,000) for e-trucks up to 12 tonnes and € 40,000 for e-trucks over 12 tonnes. Grants are limited to € 500,000 per company. In 2018, € 10 million will be available within the program. Initial applications can be submitted in July.
Trucks on the road are often 10+ years old, which means that most of those we see on the road do not yet comply with the newest emissions regulations. Even environmentally aware countries, like Germany, still have a negligible proportion of electric trucks and vans on its roads, while other places, like Italy, have a sizeable proportion of delivery vans powered by natural gas, which is less pollutant than diesel, but still a source of GHG.
Technology consulting company IDTechEx has recently published a new market report on electric trucks and vans titled “Electric Trucks and Delivery Vans 2018-2028”, which outlines all the main innovations being carried out in this space, as well as push and pull factors like growing diesel bans and lowering total cost of ownership for electric commercial vehicles. In an upcoming free webinar, senior analyst Dr Lorenzo Grande will give an overview on the opportunities and challenges related to the goods transportation industry, and how stakeholders can contribute to fleet electrification.
Australia Post has launched its very first Environmental Action Plan as part a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, and save $10 million every year through environmentally sustainable programs.
Running the country’s largest delivery network that spans 11.7 million addresses and more than 16,000 vehicles, Australia Post created the Environmental Action Plan to shape ongoing reporting and future activities that it hopes will lead to long-term sustainability.
Chief financial officer Janelle Hopkins said by driving sustainability, the company can release resources to better explore new areas and improve customer service.
“That saving of $10 million every year enables Australia Post to invest more in improving and creating services our customers want to use,” said Ms Hopkins.
“Since 2000 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 20 per cent, which is significant given domestic parcel volumes are continuing to grow, and more than two million parcels were delivered in a single day during Christmas last year.
“In the last eight years we have been working to aggressively reduce our carbon footprint, even going beyond our own sites to account for our third-party supply chain.
“Our first ever Environmental Action Plan is a step towards continuing to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our target of a 25 per cent reduction by 2020.”
Australia Post installed the country’s largest single-roof solar panel system late last year at the Sydney Parcels Facility, which Ms Hopkins said alone saves $800,000 every year within its extensive 48-site solar energy program.
“We are seeing immediate returns as we unlock renewable energy at some of our busiest sites, which helps insulate the business against rising energy prices,” Ms Hopkins said.
“But we’re also looking at how we can leverage our existing network to support communities. Our partnerships with groups like TerraCycle, Planet Ark and Mobile Muster have seen us remove 26,000 tonnes of material from landfill. We also helped develop the world-first Nespresso recycling satchel to send used coffee pods to a purpose-built recycling centre, and our own satchel packaging is now completely recyclable.
“We’re excited to see Australia Post make an even greater commitment towards delivering better commercial and environmental outcomes for the Australian community,” Ms Hopkins said.
The Environmental Action Plan is available here.
In the midst of the recycling crisis and the lead-up to the 27 April meeting of Australia’s environment ministers, a new report commissioned from independent experts has found that hundreds of new jobs can be created in Australia by government investment in the domestic recycling sector.
“The report by the highly regarded MRA Consulting shows that domestically remanufacturing 50% of the material formerly sent to China will lead to some 500 jobs here and reduce greenhouse gases by the same as taking 50,000 cars off the road,” ACOR’s CEO Pete Shmigel said.
“To check the China challenge, we are ready to reboot recycling as a self-sufficient sector that enables employment and prevents pollution. Ministers can support this by agreeing to a National Circular Economy & Recycling Plan that makes a one-off investment in the 3 ‘i’s’ of recycling: infrastructure, improvement and innovation.
“The promise of recycling is that what punters put in the bin becomes new products, not lumps in landfill. Our political leaders, through the policy targets they have set, are part of delivering on that promise and should continue to do so on April 27th.
“We need to make and buy more recycled content products here in Australia. Closing the loop is what’s needed for community confidence, job growth and environmental results.
“Other industries are regularly supported in transition or crisis. This sector – largely free-market based for decades – needs support now or services and jobs could go, including in country towns.
“While state governments have rightly focused on the system’s short-term survival, it’s time for all governments to jointly act for recycling’s future success,” Mr Shmigel said.
Projects under an investment injection of $150 million could include:
- New technology to support more Australian reprocessing of mixed paper, mixed plastics and glass cullet.
- Enhanced methods and machinery at recycling sorting centres.
- Support for government and corporate purchasing of recycled content products.
- A national centre for recycled content product development.
- Education to ensure what’s collected is clean enough for recycled content product making.
The $120 million Port of Cairns upgrade is closer to completion following the Queensland Government’s approval of the Environmental Impact Statement.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick today announced the state’s independent Coordinator-General has approved the port upgrades with very stringent reef safeguards. The Port of Cairns $120 million upgrade is closer to completion due to the Queensland Government’s approval of the Environmental Impact Statement.
“The Ports North project will be a game-changer for the Far North Queensland tourism industry by allowing a significant increase in the size and number of cruise ships and other vessels that can berth in Cairns,” Dick said.
“Economic modelling suggests the project will deliver an $850 million boost to Far North Queensland tourism.
“The region will see the greatest benefit from passenger expenditure, port charges and associated supplies and servicing activity as the Cairns Shipping Development Project will allow for over 100 additional cruise ships to berth annually in the Port of Cairns by 2031.”
Dick said the Reef will be protected by a comprehensive set of conditions that Ports North must meet.
“In his evaluation report, the Coordinator-General evaluated all the possible environmental impacts and sets comprehensive conditions to manage potential impacts on Trinity Inlet within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and state marine park,” he added.
“They include managing marine water quality, plant clearing and activity in the state marine park.”