Environmental

Millions of waste tyres each year are to be used to manufacture cement as part of a wider Government plan to address the environmental problems of end of life tyres, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced at the Golden Bay Cement works in Whangarei today.

“New Zealand has a long-standing problem, with five million waste tyres generated each year. We have dozens of tyre stockpiles around the country posing a fire risk, leaching contaminants, providing a breeding ground for rodents and insects, and blotting the landscape. This initiative proposes controls on new stockpiles, establishes a nationwide collection and shredding operation and provides a large scale end use by installing technology to enable waste tyres to be used in cement manufacture.

“The proposed National Environmental Standard will prohibit stockpiles of waste tyres of over 200m3 - 2500 car tyres - without a council consent dealing with the environmental issues of leachate, fire risk, vermin and insects, visual amenity and a bond for future disposal. These new restrictions are needed to protect the environment, prevent ratepayers having to pick up the bill of dealing with stockpiles and to help channel waste tyres into more sustainable recycling and disposal options.

“The Government has provided a grant of $3.8 million for Waste Management New Zealand to set up a nationwide tyre collection network and tyre shredding facilities in Auckland and Christchurch involving capital investment of $6.4 million. This is needed because the major barrier to re-use of waste tyres is their bulk, making transport and disposal uneconomic. The shredding machinery will be imported this year, operational in Auckland by the end of 2017 and in Christchurch in 2018.

“Golden Bay Cement, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, is being provided with a grant of $13.6 million towards the $18.1 million cost of new equipment that will dispose of 3.1 million shredded tyres per year. This technology is globally one of the most common and economically viable solutions to waste tyres. The high temperature incineration minimises pollutants, the steel in the tyres contributes to the iron requirements of cement and the rubber provides a fuel substitute for coal. The major environmental gain from this initiative is a solution for millions of waste tyres but there is also a benefit in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Golden Bay Cement is New Zealand’s fifth largest emitter and the substitution of rubber biofuel for coal reduces emissions by 13,000 tonnes per year, or the equivalent of 6000 cars.

“We are also providing grants of $1.2 million to another seven smaller tyre waste projects. Eco Rubber Industries Ltd is being provided with a grant of $600,000 towards $2.4 million of machinery to produce rubber granules for rubber underlay, with a capacity for 600,000 tyres per year. Nufuels Ltd is being provided a $90,000 grant for a $135,000 pilot pyrolysis plant for 150,000 tyres per year. Other grants to Scion and Fulton Hogan cover feasibility studies into using recycled rubber for sound proof building products, roading and cycleway construction that could develop into future end uses for New Zealand’s waste tyres.

“These Government grants of $19 million will enable $28 million of investment into tyre waste solutions. Combined with the new regulations restricting stockpiling, these measures will go a huge way towards a sustainable solution to New Zealand’s end of life tyre problem.”

More information on these of funded projects can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund-funded-projects

|  A Beehive release  ||   June 22,  2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 07:49

NZ support for energy upgrade in Tonga

Prime Minister Bill English has announced funding to kickstart a major upgrade of the electricity network in the Tongan capital.

New Zealand’s early commitment is expected to assist Tonga to attract other investors for the project.

“Our $5 million support will help provide safe, reliable electricity to around 8,500 households and businesses in Nuku’alofa and save around $1.1 million a year through reduced line losses,” Mr English says.

“This builds on New Zealand’s previous energy investments in Tonga, which include Tonga’s first large-scale solar farm in 2012, and other significant network upgrades.

“Access to clean, reliable energy is essential for businesses to thrive and to reduce reliance on fossil fuels used by diesel generators.

“We recognise this, and we are working with Tonga to help it achieve its energy goals.”

The Prime Minister made the announcement while in Tonga as part of the 2017 Pacific Mission.

| A Beehive release  ||  June 16,  2017   |||

Published in ENERGY

MSCNews Jun 15:  Reaman Industries are water treatment specialists operating out of Napier providing not only a  nationwide service but also to Australia and the Pacific Islands.  Being a solution providing focused operation they have have been challenged over the years to come up with appropriate solutions. One such request that came through recently from a regional council scientist was to overcome the challenge of effective deep water body aeration at an affordable cost.  A solution has developed that met the environmental demands and importantly is still within the regions budget.  The details of this project will be incuded in a forth coming Case Study but should you be looking for a solution to a similar problem then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is your first  point of contact at Reamans.


 

Published in REAMAN INDUSTRIES

A proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture to make re-consenting existing marine farms more consistent and efficient has been released today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“The aquaculture industry is an important part of New Zealand’s diversified primary industry, earning $500 million a year and employing over 3000 people. This proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture is needed to increase certainty and industry confidence, improve biosecurity management and reduce compliance costs,” Mr Guy says.

“The problem this new environmental standard addresses is the bow wave of 750 nationwide marine farms, or about 64 per cent of the industry, coming up for reconsenting in the next seven years. This is compounded by each council having different processes and rules and these processes and rules being changed with plan updates. This new environmental standard will save marine farmers tens of millions of dollars in consent renewals and ensure a more consistent approach to regulation of the industry.”

“This new environmental standard for aquaculture is part of the Government’s plan for improving New Zealand’s resource management system by taking a more consistent national approach. It follows other national regulations for telecommunications, electricity transmission, contamination of soil, pest control, water metering, forestry and stock exclusion from waterways. These national regulations enable better environmental outcomes, greater certainty and less cost for industry,” Dr Smith says.

“The particular gains from this aquaculture environment standard are the consistent regulations for biosecurity, greater flexibility for changes of species and enabling most replacement consents to be processed by councils as non-notified restricted discretionary activities.

“We encourage the public, industry and iwi to consider these proposals and give feedback to help us get this single set of rules right.”

The final proposals will incorporate feedback from submissions and, if progressed, the National Environmental Standard would come into effect in 2018.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will host a series of public meetings and hui where people can learn more about the proposed standard and ask questions directly of those involved.

Further information, including the meeting schedule, the proposal, and on how to make a submission, is available at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/proposed-national-environmental-standard-for-marine-aquaculture/

| A Beehive release  ||  June 15,  2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT

Modern, science-based farming is the way to achieve a future for New Zealand where dairy farming has a lower environmental footprint, says DairyNZ’s chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle.

His comment follows today’s announcement of the Dairy Action for Climate Change at National Fieldays.

The Dairy Action for Climate Change lays down the foundation to reduce greenhouse gasses on dairy farms. The plan is spearheaded by DairyNZ, which represents all dairy farmers in New Zealand, and is in partnership with Fonterra. The plan has the support of the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Dr Mackle says dairy farmers, and the scientists working alongside them, are serious about improving the environment.

“This plan lays down the foundation for dairy’s sustained, strategic approach to a lower carbon future. We’re taking the first steps in understanding what dairy can do – in conjunction with the wider agricultural sector, plus industry and urban communities – to help meet New Zealand’s Paris Agreement emissions reduction target.

“Our farmers are ready to work on lowering emissions – they are used to rising to the challenge, and they’re dedicated stewards of their land who want to do the right thing by the environment.”

Dr Mackle says addressing on-farm emissions – methane, which is formed when ruminant animals burp, and nitrous oxide, formed when nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere – is one of the most challenging issues facing the dairy and food producing sectors, globally and in New Zealand.

“Tackling the reduction of on-farm emissions is not going to be easy. It requires our Government and the agricultural sector to work together, and, as such the plan is an important part of a broader work programme underway.”

Fonterra’s Chief Operating Officer Farm Source, Miles Hurrell, says it is crucial to take an integrated approach to all the challenges facing dairy – from climate change and animal welfare, to the protection of waterways – and all the while maintain productivity and the profitability of dairy.

“The plan complements the environmental commitment dairy farmers have voluntarily undertaken through their work under the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord.

“Some of their work – such as tree planting, better soil management and reducing nitrogen leaching therefore reducing the release of nitrous oxide – is already helping to address emissions. Then there are the other science-based endeavours that are well underway, like the research to breed cows that produce fewer methane emissions, and a methane inhibiting vaccine.”

Dr Mackle adds that the Dairy Action for Climate Change dovetails with the work of the Biological Emissions Reference Group (BERG), a joint sector and Government reference group. The BERG’s purpose is to build robust and agreed evidence on what the sector can do on-farm to reduce emissions, and to assess the costs and opportunities of doing so. The BERG’s final report in late 2017 will be necessary to inform future policy development on agricultural emissions.

“New Zealand’s agricultural output of greenhouse gas is accentuated because we have a relatively small population, and we are not heavily industrialised. In other countries where there are larger populations the greater contribution is from the transport, manufacturing, construction, and energy sectors.

“Our agricultural sector is a very efficient producer of high-quality food – food that feeds many millions, not only in our country, but also around the world.”

New Zealand is acknowledged as a world-leader for efficiently producing milk on a greenhouse gas per unit of milk basis, as identified in a 2010 report from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Dr Mackle says this positioning is the result of New Zealand dairy cattle being healthier and largely grass fed, unlike animals in many other agricultural countries which are fed grains and other supplements that are harvested and transported. Added to this, their animals are often housed in barns, sometimes year around, not just over the winter months.

The Dairy Action for Climate Change was launched during the opening of the 49th National Fieldays by Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett.

| A  DairyNZ release  ||  June 14,  2017   |||

Published in AGRICULTURE

Metal from the trash heap may one day wind up inside your smartphone instead of the other way around (Credit: rihardzz/Depositphotos)

Stainless steel mesh is often used as filters and screens in facilities such as wastewater treatment plants or in ventilation shafts. But once the material gets coated in rust and weakened, it's usually just discarded. Now Chinese scientists have figured out a way to take that metal trash and turn into high-performing treasure as electrodes in potassium-ion batteries.

While lithium-ion batteries are widely used today, they're not without their issues. For starters, they degrade over time, especially if they're not stored in a cool place. They also have the annoying tendency to explode sometimes and, compared to sodium- or potassium-ion batteries, they are expensive.   

But potassium batteries, which could be a cheap and stable alternative to lithium batteries, have their challenge as well: Potassium ions are fairly large, so storing them as they transfer back and forth between electrodes in a battery tends to degrade the electrodes themselves.

The new method developed by a team from the Chinese Academy of sciences and Jilin University tackles both the problem of handling the large potassium ions and the problem of excess steel-mesh waste.

First the researchers took the rusty mesh and dipped it into a solution of potassium ferrocyanide. This compound is also called yellow prussiate of potash and is used in gardening, wine making and as an anti-caking agent in salt. When the metal hits the solution, iron, chromium and nickel ions are leached out of the rust which join the ferrocyanide ions to form Prussian blue. This complex salt that's been used as a dye, a paint, and as a coating in machine part manufacture stays on the surface of the mesh in the form of a scaffold of nanocubes. This scaffold provides an ideal place for potassium ions to rest between trips from one electrode to another in a battery.

Next, the newly blue mesh is dipped into a solution of graphene oxide which provides a coating that keeps the Prussian blue matrix from clumping, while also giving the electrodes a boost in terms of their ability to conduct electricity.

"In tests, coin cells made with these new electrodes demonstrate excellent capacity, discharge voltages, rate capability, and outstanding cycle stability," says a report about the invention. "Because the inexpensive, binder-free electrodes are very flexible, they are highly suitable for use in flexible electronic devices."

The finding could help potassium ion batteries join other potential lithium ion battery replacements including aluminum ion, sodium ion, fool's gold, lithium oxygen, and high-capacity lithium sulphur.

The research has been reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

 

 

Published in TECHNOLOGY

A consortium of groups across a variety of sectors has created an alternative plan to get New Zealand's rivers back up to scratch after what they say is lack of urgency on the issue by the Government.

The Freshwater Rescue Plan was launched in Wellington on Thursday and is aimed at countering the Government's Clean Water Package which aimed to have 90 percent of the country's rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040.

Continue to full article on Newshub   |  June 8,  2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT

Emirates has celebrated World Environment Day by showcasing an environmentally friendly aircraft cleaning technique that has enabled the airline to save millions of litres of water every year.

Emirates uses the ‘aircraft drywash’ technique to clean its aircraft. As indicated by the name, little or no water is involved in cleaning the aircraft, which is in contrast to conventional methods of aircraft cleaning which typically use thousands of litres of water per wash.

During the course of every flight, an aircraft accumulates dust and grime on its external surface. In addition to making the aircraft look dirty and less appealing, the dirt that accumulates on the aircraft surface also increases the fuel it consumes by making the aircraft heavier and less aerodynamic.

Traditionally aircraft are cleaned by using highly pressurised water between four to five times every year. However, on an average this technique uses more than 11,300 litres of water to clean one Airbus A380 aircraft and more than 9,500 litres of water to clean a Boeing 777 aircraft every time.

Since early 2016 Emirates has been using an aircraft drywash technique to clean its fleet of over 250 aircraft, including the A380s that serve New Zealand five times daily.

In this technique, a liquid cleaning product is first applied manually to the entire external surface of the aircraft. Clean microfibre fabric is then used to remove the cleaning product which has dried to a film, removing the dirt along with it and leaving the aircraft clean and polished. The aircraft is left with a fine protective film allowing the painted surface to retain a longer gloss and shine. It takes a crew of 15 staff about 12 hours to clean an A380 and about nine hours to clean a Boeing 777 aircraft.

Watch a video of an Emirates Airbus A380 undergoing a drywash at the Emirates Engineering hangar in Dubai.

There are multiple advantages to using the drywash technique. The first is that there is little use of water to clean the aircraft. When consolidated over its fleet of 260 aircraft, Emirates saves over 11 million litres of water every year. Additionally the waterless aircraft wash technique ensures that the aircraft remains cleaner for a longer period of time thereby reducing the number of times the aircraft has to be washed to about three times a year, and also reducing the aircraft’s fuel consumption because of less accumulation of dirt.

Operationally, it is possible for other maintenance work to be carried out on the aircraft in parallel during a dry wash which is not possible when the aircraft is being washed with water due to the sensitivity of instruments to water.

Emirates is committed to being an environmentally responsible airline and operates one of the world’s youngest and most fuel efficient fleet of aircraft. In addition to the adopting drywashing for its aircraft, the airline has adopted a number of other energy efficiency initiatives across its operations.

Engineering and Maintenance
Emirates uses an innovative foam wash technique for cleaning aircraft engines that allows the airline to save about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year across its fleet. Other initiatives include the installation of a one megawatt array of solar photo voltaic panels at the state of the art Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre in Dubai. The panels generate over 1,800 megawatt-hours of electricity every year, helping save around 800 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions. Emirates Engineering has also installed energy saving LED lights triggered by motion sensors substantially reducing electricity consumption.

Inflight Products
Emirates has introduced sustainable blankets produced from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Using patented ecoTHREAD™ technology, each blanket is made from 28 recycled plastic bottles. It is estimated that by the end of 2019, Emirates ecoTHREAD™ blankets would have rescued 88 million plastic bottles from landfills.

A Greener Tomorrow
Through its ‘A Greener Tomorrow’ programme, Emirates has provided funding to non-profit organisations across the world who work to conserve and safeguard their local environments. Funds for the initiative are raised entirely through the Emirates Group’s internal recycling programmes. For more information, read the Emirates Group Environmental Report 2016-17 here.

| A press release from Emirates  ||  June 6, 2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT
Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:44

Three million paint containers recycled

Resene has recycled over three million paint containers and found innovative uses for leftover paint, with its PaintWise scheme, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today at Resene’s factory in Lower Hutt.

“Often consumers buy more paint than they need for a project and the leftover paint is stored in sheds and cupboards, or is taken to the local landfill for disposal. Resene PaintWise provides New Zealanders with an environmentally responsible way of disposing of their waste paint,” Mr Simpson says.

Resene PaintWise accepts all brands of paint and paint containers and finds alternative uses for them. These include recycling paint in concrete manufacture, recycling paint containers, donating good quality paint to community group projects and using waste paint to cover graffiti. Over 250,000 litres has been donated to communities to cover graffiti which equals over two million square metres of graffiti to be covered with the help of the scheme so far.

“It’s great to see New Zealand business taking up the challenge of reducing their products’ environmental impacts. Resene PaintWise was the first whole-life-cycle paint recycling programme in the world.”

“Resene is an excellent example of an organisation taking responsibility for waste in its industry. I encourage other organisations and industries to get accredited so they too can receive the economic and environmental benefits of product stewardship.”

“Under the Waste Minimisation Act, I can accredit product stewardship schemes that meet the criteria for reducing waste and environmental harm. A product stewardship scheme will only be accredited after it has been thoroughly assessed to ensure accreditation criteria have been met. In turn, accredited schemes have to report annually me on their objectives and targets.”

For more information about product stewardship see http://www.mfe.govt.nz/waste/product-stewardship

For more information about Resene PaintWise and where to recycle paint and paint containers see http://www.resene.co.nz/paintwise.php

Published in ENVIRONMENT
Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:02

Algae harvested and made into shoes

After a massive explosion of algae growth in China’s Lake Taihu a decade ago left more than two million people in the area temporarily without safe drinking water, the government started spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to try to solve the algae problem. One part of the solution: working with a company that harvests algae from the lake before it grows out of control, and turns it into a flexible, rubbery material that is now being made into shoes.

Vivobarefoot’s water-resistant Ultra III shoes are usually made from a petroleum-based version of the same material, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). But a version that will launch in July is made from a blend of algae and EVA, instead. To get enough algae to make one pair means cleaning 57 gallons of water, which are then returned to the lake.

Continue to the full article by Adele Peters in Fast Company |  May 30,  2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT
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