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E-fuels Revolution Takes Flight: The First Airplane to Ever Fly on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Made From Fat

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E-fuel Revolution Takes Flight: The First Airplane to Ever Fly on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Made From Fat

VS100: First Transatlantic Flight to Use 100% Sustainable Fuel Made From Fat

Just recently, Virgin Airlines Flight VS100 took off. It traveled from Heathrow Airport in London, England to New York City. It was fuelled up and ready to go, but not in the way most of us might imagine.

It was the first plane to ever be fully powered with a tank full of fuel called Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF. This is an emerging, highly sustainable jet fuel. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel that had been used on the transatlantic flight was made entirely from fat, talon, and other waste products.

As it turns out, e-fuels could be the future of aviation.

What is SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel)?

Sustainable Aviation Fuels, or SAF, is produced by blending traditional kerosene with renewable hydrocarbon. It operates just as well as traditional jet fuel but with significantly less pollution. SAF can reduce carbon emissions from airplanes by as much as 80%.

However, SAF is not yet economically sustainable. It costs four times as much as conventional fuel.

How Much Air Pollution Is Caused by Airplanes?

All fuel-burning modes of transportation contribute to air pollution, but Airplanes are very significant.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, a single flight from Montreal to London emits as much carbon dioxide as heating a home for an entire year. These pollutants are contributing significantly to global warming.

Why is Air Pollution a Problem?

Besides increasing the rate of global warming, air pollution is among the top five leading risk factors for death globally.

The world has a goal to stamp out greenhouse emissions and clean up our air by the year 2050. This vision is commonly called Net Zero.

Another historic agreement was recently reached between nearly 200 participating nations to transition away from fossil fuels. The UN held the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai in November of 2023. It is supposed to be a giant step forward in the fight against air pollution.

The air industry is ready to do its part too.

How Does CO2 Cause Global Warming?

Carbon dioxide often gets a bad rep. It’s important to understand that CO2 is very important for survival on our planet. The problem comes when there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Much of the warmth from the sun passes right through the atmosphere. Some bounce back up and are sent back into space. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps a certain amount of that heat. This keeps the planet livable with growing plants and water.

But with an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, too much heat is trapped. This is what causes global warming.

Carbon dioxide from airplanes contributes to this global warming effect. A promising sustainable aviation fuel could be the use of electrofules or e-fuels.

What are E-Fuels?

E-fuels, also known as electrofules, are a type of synthetic fuel that is emerging as an alternative to traditional fuels for nuclear energy, heat, or power. Conventional fuels involve burning wood, coal, oil, or natural gas. These are non-renewable resources. Once we’ve used these resources, they are gone forever. E-fuels, on the other hand, are produced with the help of renewable energy sources.

E-fuels are becoming a full-blown industry. Scientists have developed a family of these clean fuels. The list of fuels includes e-hydrogen, e-methane, e-diesel, and others. Electrofuel plants are popping up around the world.

How are E-fuels Made?

E-fuels are made by using renewable sources of energy to extract hydrogen from water using electricity. This hydrogen is then mixed with carbon dioxide to create what is known as electrofules or e-fuels.

Since aviation is a big emitter of carbon dioxide, there has recently been a focus on electrofules for jet planes. One such example is the start-up company, Twelve. In 2024, they expect to start production on their e-fuel which they call E-Jet ®.

Twelve is opening a new plant in Moses Lake, Washington. They are aiming to create e-fuels in a way that is cleaner and less expensive than traditional methods.

How do E-Fuels Work?

E-fuels are earth-friendly and are often referred to as drop-in fuels. This means that no special fuel tanks or other equipment is needed. It can be poured right into existing jet engines. It can even be mixed with existing fuel in any proportional amount.

What makes the VS100 so special is that it was the first flight to ever use 100% sustainable jet fuel. Usually, sustainable fuels are blended with conventional fuel because components of traditional fuels prevent fuel leaks.

Scientists were on board the VS100 flight to track carbon emissions, and no leaks were reported. These sustainable fuels are shown to be very versatile. The hope is that they’ll eventually extend to use in road and marine vehicles if they are shown to reduce air pollution and global warming.

Will Sustainable Fuels Decrease Air Pollution?

There is potential that sustainable fuels can reduce air pollution and global warming, but there are still hurdles in the way. The economic cost and limited availability of sustainable fuels like e-fuels and SAF show that there needs to be more advancements in how these fuels are produced and used.

But there is Always Hope for e-fuels and SAF.

“The world will always assume something can’t be done… until you do it.”

Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines
E-fuels Revolution Takes Flight_The First Airplane to Ever Fly on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Made From Fat
Zurich, Switzerland- The cleanest air quality in the world

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The city of Zurich in Switzerland has been rated the cleanest city in the world.

Its air quality is about 10% above the World Health Organization’s recommendations. So, if you ever find yourself out there, be sure to make a point of taking a nice, deep breath. It may be some of the cleanest air you’ll ever breathe!

This remarkable achievement has not come easily for Zurich. They’ve been dedicated to it for a long time. The Canton of Zurich has plans in place to manage and curtail pollution levels.

There are standards in place for how much heat a household can produce. This may include furnace upgrades. There are also regulations regarding what kind of fuel can be used. Even chimneys must be a certain size and shape. There are rules for both civilian and industrial operations.

They keep a very close eye on the level of particulate matter (PM) in the air. When it reaches a certain level, they activate the plan.

In stage one, they inform the public of the rising air pollution levels. They also encourage the use of public transportation to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

If pollution levels reach another plateau, they will employ certain speed limits on the roadways to limit emissions. They may also ban open fires and stoves without a filter that would keep pollution out of the air.

If pollution reaches another designated level, a ban on diesel-powered machines is issued. And when the air pollution levels start to come down, they reduce regulations a bit at a time.

It’s been a challenge, but with a little cooperation, it’s paid off with having the cleanest air in the world.

Joy L. Magnusson is an experienced freelance writer with a special passion for nature and the environment—topics she writes about widely in publications. Her work has been featured on Our Canada Magazine, Zooanthology, Written Tales Chapbook and more.

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Seaweed Plastic: An Emerging Solution to Plastic Pollution

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Seaweed plastic in the vast ocean.

Seaweed Plastic

Every minute, two garbage truck’s worth of plastic enters our oceans.

And every other minute, thousands of people across the world dedicate themselves to creating low-cost, biodegradable plastic alternatives that dissolve as soon as it enters the ocean.

This spells good news for the future of our human underwater habitats.

What is Seaweed Plastic?

Seaweed plastic are plastic alternatives that are made from seaweed, and that are bio-degradable. This means that when any of these “plastics” reach the ocean, it will dissolve as soon it touches the water. Moreover, seaweed is also edible, making seaweed plastics less likely to end up in oceans because there is an option that it might end up in the stomach of users.

Who Invented Seaweed Plastic?

The Idea of a seaweed plastic alternative was developed by engineering college students Rodrigo García González, Pierre-Yves Paslier and Guillaume Couche. They were the first to invent the “edible water bottle”, a sachet made from seaweed which contains water, and which was sold by the startup Ooho. in 2019, Ooho rebranded to the name Notpa, and has since included food packaging, rigid cutlery and containers among their bioplastic products.

What are the Disadvantages of Seaweed Plastic?

  • High Cost: Production costs are high for seaweed plastics, making their demand low and their production limited.
  • Less durable: Seaweed plastic alternatives are biodegradable, but they have weak mechanical properties compared to traditional plastics. This makes them less durable, and more prone to tearing.
  • Limited Applications: Seaweed plastics currently have a very limited use and are often restricted to gift and food wraps, tea bags, and sachets; whereas, conventional plastics can be used for almost everything.

What are the Advantages of Seaweed Plastic?

Less than 10% of plastics actually end up being recycled. This makes seaweed plastic alternatives much more practical as a solution to plastic pollution than recycling. The advantages of seaweed plastic alternatives include the following:

  • Biodegradable: Traditional plastics can take centuries to decompose; however, plastics made from seaweed dissolve as soon as it reaches the ocean.
  • Edible: Bioplastics made from seaweed don’t need to reach the ocean in the first place because they can be eaten. Imagine receiving a gift-wrapped present in the near future and knowing that if you wanted to, you can have your gift and eat it too.
  • Carbon Capture: Seaweed cultivation absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping mitigate the affects of climate change and create a clean energy future.
  • Healthier Oceans: It is estimated that algae produce up to 70% of Earth’s oxygen. If seaweed plastics end up reaching the ocean, it will contribute to a healthy environment for both terrestrial and marine life—assuming nobody eats their grocery bag first.

Can Seaweed Replace Plastic?

Seaweed is indeed replacing plastic, but not to the extent where it is currently making a large difference in reducing plastic pollution. Startups like Mumbai-based Zerocircle are creating tea bags, burger wrappers, gift wraps, and grocery store bags from seaweed plastic; however, while seaweed plastics are good for some applications, they are not likely to completely replace plastic.

Zerocircle received $200,000 from the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize for bringing to life a bio-degradable alternatives to plastic films. Lonely Whale in association with TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies have also helped the startup receive widespread market adoption.

While still in its early stages, production methods for seaweed-based bioplastics are evolving. We will see more of these plastic alternatives being used in the future as its uses become more versatile.

A tropical ocean filled with seaweed that can be used to make plastic seaweed.

IC INSPIRATION

India has the biggest plastic pollution problem in the world.

In many parts of the world, plastic pollution is so bad, that creating bio-degradable alternatives is the only solution to the problem. For these places, it is more effective to create plastic alternatives that biodegrade than it is to recycle.

Some impoverished areas are not easily accessible to garbage trucks, so the garbage that doesn’t accumulate in these neighborhoods ends up polluting the ocean, and much of this garbage consists of plastics.

Companies like Zerocircle is so ingenious because it seeks to solve a problem by targeting the source.

Efforts to replace traditional plastic with materials like seaweed bioplastics contribute to protecting the ecosystems that support species like long-lived tortoises—which can live up to more than 150 years and have the power to create, change, protect, and even destroy an entire habitat. 

If that’s not worthy of an inspiring click, then I don’t know what is!

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Archangel Ancient Tree Archive: Cloning Ancient Trees to Build Strong Forests

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Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA) is a non-profit organization that locates and then clones the world’s most ancient trees. They do this to propagate the powerful DNA of these ancient trees—which they say can cool down the earth 10 times faster than ordinary trees can.

Where is the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive?

Volunteers at Archangel have successfully cloned over 150 ancient trees and then planted tens of thousands of these trees in over 7 countries including France, the US, and New Zealand. Trees act as powerful carbon stores, and that is part of the reason why such great emphasis is put on regrowing forests to stop the climate crisis.

History of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

In 2008, co-founder David Milarch embarked on a journey to save the last remaining population of old-growth trees after a life-long battle with alcoholism led him to a near-death experience.

A day came when he was so fed up with the life he was living that he left his bottles of alcohol outside his room door and locked himself in. He made a strong promise to himself that he would not come out until the alcohol was completely out of his system…

3 days later his kidneys began to fail, and he ended up in the emergency room.

When he woke up, he said he was revealed a mission: clone ancient trees and then plant them. Ever since, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has located the remaining 2% of the largest and oldest living trees on the planet and began cloning them, then preserving their genetics in a “Living Library”.

This living library preserves the genetics of these trees by species, safeguarding the DNA and genetic heritage of the sort of trees that grow 10 times faster than current generations. Trees that grow 10 times faster will help in recovering forests lost to deforestation and forest fires 10 times quicker, creating lusher forests, and contributing to the planet’s health at a rate that is faster than the descendants of these trees.

Champion Trees of the AATA

David Milarch’s family and numerous volunteers of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive have called these trees “Champion Trees”. The idea is that by planting them, these Champion Trees go on to share their genetics with existing trees, which strengthens the forests’ ability to store carbon and preserve habitats.

In their YouTube video “About Archangel Ancient Tree Hive”, Dr. William J. Libby, science advisor at Archangel expresses: “What we are doing is, we are not changing the genetic constitution of any trees. In fact, we are trying to capture that so it can be studied in the future without being changed.”

How do you Clone Ancient Trees?

Volunteers climb to the top of these trees, trim the ends of the branches from a height not yet touched by any chemicals or new hormones, and send the cuttings to their Michigan facility so that cloning can begin.

This entire process of cloning, archiving, and then reforestation, has become a healing system for the entire planet, thanks to the efforts of David Milarch and this motivational organization.

How Does the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive Help Forests?

In 2020 the devastating Castle Fire took away half of the ancient trees in Sequoia Crest in California, which is home to the oldest living trees on the planet. These trees were presumed to be immune to fires. 

However, AATA foresaw the possibility of such an event happening due to rising temperatures and had been working for a decade before the event to collect material and clone these ancient trees from American forests. Ultimately, these seedlings helped the team to quickly rebuild the burnt area of the forest and provide new life to these giant Champion Trees, and the habitats that come with them.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, AATA

IC Inspiration

The wisdom embedded in trees preserved by The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive goes beyond our full understanding, but from what we do understand, trees are fascinating beyond what we could have imagined.

In Peter Wohlleben’s book “The Hidden Life of Trees”, he familiarizes us with the ability of trees to feel and communicate with life around them. They share signals, nutrients, and information with one another through their intricate system of roots. They have even shown that they know, in their own way, that they have families. They can feel pain and even protect one another from harm.

For example, in South Africa, acacia trees employ a fascinating communication method by releasing a “warning gas” called ethylene to alert neighboring trees of the looming threat of giraffes who are waiting to feast on their leaves. The trees that receive this warning gas through the air on time, quickly respond by releasing toxins into their leaves, making them bitter for giraffes to consume them.

The giraffe stops eating them, and those trees stay protected.

This is what allows the ancient trees to strengthen the newer species around them; they carry the resilience and wisdom required to survive for thousands of years against all odds.

Archangel has also started a Tree School which is meant to be an inspiration to the younger generation, encouraging them to reforest the planet and save it from the dangers of climate change.

Forest schools descended from Europe and can now be found in places all around the world. These schools provide education in outdoor environments like forests. The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive notes that schools like this will play a very important role in the future.

“My vision for Tree School is to have something so simple, so compelling, a major solution to reversing climate change so that all the world’s grandchildren and the ones to come, have a fair shot at being able to survive on this planet.” Notes David Milarch on the official website.

With more people coming together to preserve the natural ecosystem of this world, such as The Singhs, who restored a significant part of the Ranthambore Forest to provide a home for endangered tigers, the future of our planet Earth looks brighter than ever before!

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Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School: Empowering Girls and Building Futures

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rajkumari ratnavati girls school

Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School

Nestled within the heart of Rajasthan, India, the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School was created in the middle of the desert to give girls the gift of education in a place where the literacy rate of women is only 52%. The school has even employed many of the parents of these girls, not only offering young women a feminine sanctuary to relax and heal in the desert but also helping one of the most economically challenged parts of India.

Who Created the Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School?

The Rajkumari Ratnavati school was envisioned by CITTA, a nonprofit whose visionary efforts involve healing and educating communities in some of the most economically distressed places around the world. CITTA then brought in Diana Kellogg, founder of Diana Kellogg Architects for the design— a firm that traditionally specializes in the creation of high-end, sophisticated projects in New York.

How Was Rajkumari Ratnavati Designed?

Aside from being known for its incredible terrain and historical palaces, Rajasthan is predominantly desert. The elliptical structure of the school makes it so that there is no need for AC, or electricity for that matter. The structure of the school channels high-pressure winds and transforms them into cool breezes, giving the school the ability to keep the girls cool even in temperatures that surpass a searing 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not only is the school a remarkable example of sustainable architecture, but it also highlights the massive impact architecture can have on people and society.

A portion of the school includes the Gyaan Center, an enclave inspired by the CITTA as part of the effort to educate these girls. The Gyaan Center imparts traditional and economically friendly embroidery and weaving skills to the girls, taught by local artisans.

The School Reflects Culture, Community, and Empowerment

The school does so much more than educate girls; it preserves and continues the rich legacy of their Rajasthani culture. The designer Dianna Kellogg used this as the inspirational drive that went on to make the school as incredible as it is.

“I wanted to make a building about space and light and community and not about design — a structure that resonated with the soul and femininity and enforced the natural energies to nurture and heal the women and girls”, said Diana Kellogg in an interview with Hannah Feniak. “As a woman myself, it was imperative in my design process to honor women to the best of my ability, especially from the cultural context in India.”

Diana Kellogg’s remarkable mindfulness stands as an extraordinary source of inspiration. Expressing healing energies and a hopeful outlook for these young girls not only forges a path toward a brighter tomorrow for these students but also resonates as a motivational march toward a more empowered global sisterhood.

rajkumari ratnavati girls school

IC INSPIRATION

Understanding one another in our interconnected global village doesn’t have to be complex.

We all have diverse cultures, traditions, languages, and ideas, but if we can express those things in a positive light, then inspiration becomes creation, and creation goes on to inspire.

After all, Diana Kellogg successfully weaved local customs of Rajasthan and Jaisalmer into the design of this magnificent school without even being from there; but by understanding and then expressing that culture in the light of education and healing.

Her inspiration created the school, and now the school inspires the girls. Who knows the incredible impact that these girls may have in the future to come.

Differences don’t need to be barriers as long as we have people with the willingness to express their creativity in the hope that they will be able to spread good in the world.

There seems to be no limit to human creativity. One women—like Kiki Grammatopoulos—invents rewilding shoes, which helps grow forests while you run. And another—like Mira Kulkarni— creates a successful business that imparts ayurvedic wisdom.

It’s an amazing thought that when you break barriers, you get creative; and when you get creative, you break barriers.

It’s as if differences exist to spark the inspiration needed for us to create things that don’t exist yet.

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