Top Stories

February 27, 2015

Community Investment

SunEdison donates $5 million to train low-income workers on solar jobs

Two leaders in the US solar industry – GRID Alternatives, the country’s largest non-profit solar installer, and SunEdison, the Missouri-based renewable energy development giant – have announced a partnership that will help build clean energy jobs in low-income communities. With a donation of cash and solar panels worth $5 million, SunEdison and its foundation will enable GRID to train 4,000 low-income solar workers around the country over the next two years. For low-income workers, entry-level jobs as solar installers, which usually require only a high school diploma, offer $20 to $24 an hour with significant room for advancement.  Meanwhile, for the low-income families who will be able to take advantage of the solar systems installed by GRID trainees and volunteers, savings on electricity could total 75 to 90 percent. (GreenBiz)

Circular Economy

Rexam and Carlsberg receive first ever Cradle to Cradle certification for a beverage can

Danish brewing company Carlsberg Group has received the first Cradle to Cradle certification for a beverage can, having been awarded a bronze level by the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute for cans supplied by beverage can maker Rexam. The certification is for cans supplied into the UK market and is the first of the brewer’s packaging to receive such certification. Cans were assessed on five sustainability aspects, including material health; material reutilisation; renewable energy and carbon management; water stewardship; and social fairness. The move is part of Carlsberg’s Circular Community initiative of which Rexam was a founding partner in 2013. The initiative uses the Cradle-to-Cradle design framework and sees Carlsberg working with its suppliers to encourage innovation and quality in the brewing industry, in pursuit of zero-waste. (2degrees)

Technology & Innovation

Hyperloop construction starts next year with first full-scale track

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the company aiming to build the revolutionary tube-based transit system conceived by Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, plans to start construction on an actual hyperloop next year. The prototype will run five miles around central California, and will test and tweak practical elements like station setup, boarding procedures, and pod design. The hyperloop, detailed by Musk in a 57-page white paper in August 2013, is a transportation network of above-ground tubes that could span hundreds of miles. Thanks to extremely low air pressure inside the tubes, capsules filled with people could zip through them at near supersonic speeds, potentially travelling between northern and southern California in half an hour. The prototype will take paying customers, although they will not come anywhere close to the 800mph top-speed promised by Musk, since reaching that mark would require about 100 miles of track. (Wired)


Innovate UK aims to catalyse energy R&D with £24.5 million funding

Government-backed technology agency Innovate UK has this week dished out its latest round of funding to early-stage energy technology firms, dividing £24.5 million between 40 firms as part of its Energy Catalyst initiative. The agency announced yesterday that a wide range of new technologies would receive R&D funding, ranging from a project to develop windows that act as solar panels through to an engine that runs on landfill gas, and an initiative to reduce the environmental impact of fracking processes. Cambridge-based Nyak Technology has been awarded almost £200,000 to help develop an organic solar cell that could be used to deliver solar glass technologies. Meanwhile, Oaktec has been awarded £220,000 to support research into a new engine that can use untreated gas from landfill sites to power a self-supercharged biogas engine. (Edie; BusinessGreen)


Image source: Øl (4431033505) by cyclonebill/ CC BY-SA 2.0