May 17, 2020

Green Walls to Cut Inner City Air Pollution

energy digital
living wall
green wall
city blocs
2 min
Beautiful living walls to brighten city walls
A new trend is catching on in some big cities. Introducing, living walls bustling with vegetation—not only aesthetically appealing, but also ben...


 A new trend is catching on in some big cities. Introducing, living walls bustling with vegetation—not only aesthetically appealing, but also beneficial to businesses and the well-being of employees.

Cooling city blocks reduce loud noise, improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution in between tall buildings. Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and a team of researchers created a computer model of a green wall in a Western European city, and recorded its chemical reactions. The study revealed that the wall in a street canyon trapped and absorbed significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide and other particulate matter, “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he told National Geographic.

Other benefits include:

  • Reduction of urban heat with the reintroduction of vegetation to urban environments, promoting natural cooling processes

  • Improved exterior air quality, mitigating air pollution levels by trapping particulate matter and capturing gases

  • Improved indoor air quality and noise reduction

  • Fewer polluting by-products released into the air with the addition of thermal insulation for buildings

  • Local job creation (landscape architects, irrigation consultants, etc.) and demand for local supply of plant materials, greenhouse production, growing media, etc.

  • Building structure protection

  • Improved health and well-being of employees


Read More in Energy Digital's March Issue



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Jul 30, 2021

Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector

3 min
The UK’s nascent marine energy sector starts exporting electricity to the grid as the most powerful tidal turbine in the world begins to generate power

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. 

How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?

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

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