Monday, January 10, 2022

computer can sort recycled plastics

 https://techxplore.com/news/2022-01-breakthrough-plastic-machines-distinguish.html

 

"The technology makes it possible to separate plastics based on a purer chemical composition than is possible today, and this opens up for completely new opportunities to recycle plastics. The technology has been tested at pilot scale and is planned to be implemented at PLASTIX and Dansk Affaldsminimering Aps in spring 2022."

 

Only 10% of plastic is recycled now.  This will improve things greatly.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Crisis Response Teams better than police responses for mental health issues

 https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/crisis-response-teams-achieve-70-reduction-in-people-taken-into-custody-under-mental-health-act-1.6296427

 

In the eight years since the program launched in Hamilton, there has been a marked reduction in taking people in mental health crisis into custody.

Before the mobile team, Hamilton police apprehended three out of every four people they were called to assist. Their latest figures show a 70 per cent reduction to fewer than one in five.

"You'll see a full range. It might be as horrible as somebody up on a bridge threatening to jump," Burtenshaw told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of White Coat Black Art.

"It might be somebody saying, 'Listen, I'm really worried about my mom. She's not answering the door. Can you do a wellness check?'"

 

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Police tend to not know how to de-escalate an encounter with someone with mental health issues.  Professionals who do know save lives.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Salton Sea a hopeful source of lithium

 https://cleantechnica.com/2021/12/05/lithium-brine-bummer-could-turn-into-bonanza-soon/

 

“Extraction of lithium from geothermal brines is expected to be particularly challenging,” the lab explains. “The brine is extremely hot when it comes out of the subsurface, and it contains a rich stew of many dissolved minerals in addition to lithium.”

To visualize how complex and delicate the extraction process is, imagine you are flipping for baseball cards, except all of your cards are stuck together and they are on fire.

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Still, it's very tempting to try to get at this ready source of lithium with a power source at hand as well.  At this time, lithium is needed for electric vehicles for their batteries.

 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

electric cars use much less material in their lives than ICE vehicles

 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/electric-cars-comparison-fossil-fuels-transport/

 

"The study by Transport and Environment reveals that traditionally fuelled cars use a significantly higher amount of resources to be produced and maintained, from production to eventual scrappage.

Only 30kg of raw material will be lost over the lifecycle of a lithium-ion battery used in electric cars. By comparison, over 17,000 litres of oil is used in a fossil fuelled engine over the same amount of time...

 Battery cars are predicted to use 58% less energy than petrol cars over their lifetimes and emit 64% less carbon dioxide, according to the study.

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The only legitimate argument I've heard against electric vehicles is that they are just switching the fossil fuel burning from the car engine to the coal burning plant.  But if electric vehicles use less material through their lives, and require less energy, just that is a powerful claim.  And once coal-fired plants are replaced with renewable energy sources, then we're finally on our way to cleaning up the air.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

We're drowning in plastic waste

 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/01/deluge-of-plastic-waste-us-is-worlds-biggest-plastic-polluter

 

"Plastic waste has increased sharply in the US since 1960, with the country now generating about 42m metric tons of plastic waste a year, amounting to about 130kg of waste for every person in America. This total is more than all European Union member countries combined. The overall amount of municipal waste created in the US is also two to eight times greater than comparable countries around the world, the report found.

Recycling infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the huge growth in American plastic production. Littering, dumping and inefficient waste disposal in landfills has caused up to 2.2m tons of plastic – including everything from plastic bottles and straws to packaging – to 'leak' into the environment each year. The total waste may be even greater than this due to data gaps in tracking it.

Much of this plastic ends up, via rivers and streams, in the world’s oceans."

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NPR this morning stated that 10 million tons of plastic wind up in the ocean every year.  Aquatic animals eat it, get stuck in it, and die. My solution would be to REPLACE plastic with something biodegradable, such as mushroom-based packaging.  Recycling does not work.  Only 9% of what you put in a recycling bin actually gets recycled.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Work on methane before Co2 for climate repair

 https://www.space.com/satellites-discover-huge-undeclared-methane-emissions

 

The collaboration has proved fruitful. In data gathered over the first two years of Tropomi's operations, scientists discovered major leaks of methane in the oil and gas fields of Turkmenistan, most of which were completely preventable.

Oil and gas fields must build flare installations that prevent methane from leaking into the atmosphere, and Aben said that these leaks suggest those installations are not being used properly.

"These emissions actually relate to flare installations that are not being flared in the oil and gas industry," said Aben. "Flaring is meant to get rid of the methane gases by burning them. It would obviously be better to capture the gas, but they are not even burning it. It's just methane pouring out, and that is not normal operations."

The Tropomi measurements revealed thousands of kilograms (in some cases even tens of thousands of kilograms) of methane leaking from 29 plants every hour. 


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There is a way now to find such leaks and fix them.  This is more important than Co2 as methane is a greater danger to the environment.

 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

small town grocery stores try innovating

 https://www.grocerydive.com/news/could-unattended-grocery-stores-thrive-in-small-towns/601693/

 

Main Street Market is not Amazon Go by any stretch. But it follows the same principles of offering convenient access and self-service.

The lower-tech approach is also much less costly to operate. Instead of computer-vision cameras, the store lets shoppers scan items and pay with their phones, or use a self-checkout terminal. Main Street Market offers a selection of mostly conventional goods, including soda, frozen pizza, cold cuts, snacks and sports drinks.  

One obvious potential problem is theft. The store has security cameras in place to monitor the aisles, but owner Alex Ostenson said the business mostly relies on the honor system to ensure customers pay for all the items they select. He said he has the ability to disable an account from his phone at any time.

“If people buy a year membership for $75, would they really risk losing it by stealing?” he told the Enterprise. “We know who is coming and going as each person has a unique access code.”

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 I was just in North Dakota and listened to public radio discuss another new concept in the northeast part of the state.  It would not be a store per se but a storage locker for individual orders that are brought in all at once.  Each order would be put in a storage locker for the purchaser to pick up at their convenience.  The only town name I remember is Hoople, but I think it was 3 towns in that area planning to try this.

It's impossible at some population point for a town to have a profitable grocery store, so these innovative ideas will be worth watching to help out our rural areas.