The Future of Plastic: Plasticity Rio '12
As a side-event at the Rio 2012 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Plasticity Rio '12 will include a full day forum involving the opportunities involved in the world of plastic and its role as a secondary raw material.
On June 21st, Plasticity Rio '12 will discuss innovations and solutions that leaders in their respective industries and communities are undertaking to ensure that plastic and used material is treated as a resource, therefore minimizing its impacts on our shared global ecosystem.
“Our event is all about the future of plastic, and where the leaders are going,” says Doug Woodring, Director and Co-Founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance. “It is timely, because an event like this about plastic has never been done before at a big international environmental conference, but it is also being done in a new way, showing the new technologies, innovations, and opportunities that are associated within this industry.”
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The forum will be aimed at showcasing solutions to the issues of plastic waste in our environment, including cutting edge recycling, re-use, design, packaging, materials, case studies (from cities, groups and companies), policies, and emerging new technologies. Google, the Clinton Foundation and UNEP are a few of the endorsing parties.
“The following day we will have a half-day session with stakeholders of all types who are interested, to work with the facilitator Rapid Results, whose claim to fame is that they can get groups who normally don’t work together, to work together within 100 days to solve a problem,” says Woodring. “So, we will give people the tools, based on the winning ideas announced at Plasticity, to go home to their respective countries, and deploy these new ideas, and hopefully get something moving, as a result of Rio, within 100 days.”
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly