Sustainability

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Helping today’s power companies anticipate tomorrow

It’s not easy for big, profitable companies to respond to huge technological changes. One NTNU researcher hopes to help Norway’s electric power industry cope with the market challenges from renewable energy and changed consumer behaviour.

ABC — anything but coal

Policymakers, industry and government officials will have to invest US $2.5 trillion for electricity generation over the next 20 years. A new report presents the environmental costs and benefits linked to different renewable energy sources, and makes one thing abundantly clear: anything is better than coal.

Timing is everything for renewable energy use

There’s no time to waste in shifting to renewable energy sources if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. That’s especially true when it comes to bioenergy, which causes a temporary increase in CO2 levels that is later removed as replacement biostocks grow.

Awash in trash at the top of the world

Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste blows, falls or flows into the world’s oceans. Earlier this autumn, participants in the annual Svalbard Course plucked up 512 kg of the stuff from just one beach in two hours.

Recycling aluminium, one can at a time

Producing pure aluminium from ore accounts for as much as 1 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Recycling is the best way to reduce that carbon footprint – but manufacturers and recycling companies will have to plan carefully to avoid problems with impurities that accumulate in recycled aluminium over time.

Carving up the global carbon pie in a new way

When negotiators come to Paris this December to discuss a binding and universal agreement on controlling climate change, they have to know how much each country contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions problem. A new method offers the best hope yet for accurately accounting for these emissions by providing the right incentives and assigning fair responsibilities.

A Third Industrial Revolution for Norway

Norway’s wealth and prosperity over the last four decades has been built on oil, but Jeremy Rifkin, a futurist and social and economic thinker, says it’s time for the country to change. The Third Industrial Revolution is coming, and Norway needs to abandon fossil fuels and move towards a greener future that relies on renewable energy, shared transport and ultra-efficient housing.

Low-carbon electricity future is clean and feasible

The countries of the world wrapped up preliminary climate talks in Lima, Peru this weekend with an agreement on how the UN’s 194 countries will tackle climate change. The agreement comes in advance of major negotiations scheduled for Paris next year to designed to curb the world’s production of greenhouse gases. In a publication from earlier this year, researchers at NTNU’s Industrial Ecology Programme report that the low-carbon future that would result from curbing greenhouse gas emissions is both feasible from a practical standpoint, and will also substantially reduce air pollution.

Turning humble seaweed to biofuel

A Norwegian research group has been able to achieve bio-oil yields of 79% from a common kelp. Other researchers working with the same species have yields closer to 20%. The secret is to heat the kelp very quickly and bring it to the right temperature within seconds.

Hope for the climate, hope for clean air

Climate talks in New York this week have offered a glimmer of hope that the world’s political leaders finally understand the need to act to curb global warming. An NTNU researcher says that these actions will have a beneficial side effect: cleaner air in some of the most polluted places on the planet.

Capturing false hormones

They damage our ability to reproduce, and they pollute the natural environment. Yet chemicals known as hormone mimics can be found in consumer goods. Eventually they end up in our water. But we now have a way of capturing them.

Monitoring neighbourhood electricity consumption

With more and more Norwegian households owning one or even two electric cars requiring charging overnight, how will we manage without sacrificing our hot morning shower and fresh bread for breakfast?

Brown trout or sea trout.

The secret life of the sea trout

Armed with special acoustic tags, a team of researchers is following 50 individual fish for as long as seven months to learn more about their life – and death — in Norwegian fjords.

Northern lights

Secrets of the High North

The Norwegian arctic island archipelago of Svalbard offers scientists the chance to investigate some of the most intriguing – and perplexing – puzzles facing the high north.

The 80 per cent solution

By recycling used water, we can live with just a couple of buckets of fresh, clean water a day, while the rest of our water will come from recycled sources.