Plastic in the Ocean: What's the Solution?
Plasticity Rio panelist and President / Founder of MBA Polymers, one of the world’s leading multinational plastics recycling companies, Dr Mike Biddle, has been awarded the illustrious Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development.
“This award for Dr. Biddle showcases the importance of the innovation and opportunities that are being developed in the area of plastic recycling and waste resource development, all of which fit perfectly with the goal to reduce plastic pollution while fulfilling the Rio+20 objectives for the development of the green economy,” says Douglas Woodring, organizer of the Plasticity Rio event, and founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance.
Dr Mike Biddle is one of 18 guest experts to take centre stage at the one-day forum aimed at presenting forward-thinking, solution-based products, processes and case studies on the sustainable uses of plastics that are replicable and scalable throughout the world.
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“I am excited to be part of Plasticity. The timing and venue represent a fantastic opportunity to bring leading thinkers from around the globe to work together towards more responsible life-cycle management of this valuable resource we call ‘plastics,” says Dr. Biddle.
Steve Richardson, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs at NatureWorks says, “We believe that it’s vital to reassess where plastics come from, and where plastics go when we’re done with the them. Plasticity gives us a great platform to have a real discussion on bioplastics – with the opportunities, the obstacles, and the progress, all discussed in detail with NatureWorks at the forum.”
With support and endorsement from the United Nations Environment Programme, Google, the Clinton Foundation, Business for the Environment, the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), NatureWorks, Ecover, Covanta Energy and the Plastic Vortex Challenge, the unique conference is one of a kind on the agenda and will be addressing a range of topical and provocative issues relating to the new technologies and innovations that are being developed which include bioplastics, waste to fuel, source reduction, new design, materials and how some are harnessing plastic waste for new industries.
“Businesses leading with vision and entrepreneurial spirit are essential in the worldwide effort to curb plastic pollution. This is a space for innovation and great opportunities, and we are excited to support the effort championed by Plasticity Forum,” says Daniella Russo, Executive Director of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Other guest experts include Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative, Sebastião Carlos dos Santos (Tião), President, Association of Collectors of the Metropolitan Landfill of Jardim Gramacho, Rio’s Largest Landfill, as seen in the movie Wasteland www.wastelandmovie.com), Jason Foster, Founder of Replenish, Bryan Martel, Managing Director Environmental Capital Group and Fabien Cousteau – Ocean Explorer, Movie Producer, and Founder of “Plant a Fish,” Daniella Russo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition.
"Plastic waste is poisoning our only planet. The Plasticity Forum will be highlighting these risks during the Rio+20 Earth Summit while also sourcing potential mitigating Innovations. I'm proud to be participating and am excited to see what new approaches are presented, and inspired, by the event,” says Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative Design.
The issue of Plastic has been voted the #1 priority out of the top 10 issues facing the ocean, as voted on by over 1,000,000 global citizens on the United Nations official online voting platform for the Rio+20 event. “Plasticity shows the world that plastic can be used, but that there are big opportunities for brands, companies and entrepreneurs who work to minimize its impact on the environment. The future of plastic is one where there is no plastic footprint,” says Woodring.
The team behind this unique conference have also launched a global competition calling on innovators and geniuses alike to be a part of the solution, ‘Capturing Gold’ which will be presented during the day. This crowd-sourced ideas competition uses Tinkby, an online collaboration platform designed to help large groups of people think together and is seeking out the brightest thinking for the future of sustainable use and re-use of plastic.
Edited by Carin Hall
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