• Case against new Cumbrian coal mine reaches High Court, with owner claiming it is ‘net zero’

    Case against new Cumbrian coal mine reaches High Court, with owner claiming it is ‘net zero’

    The case against a new Cumbrian coal mine has entered the High Court, with the owner defending it as a “unique net zero” mine – while Friends of the Earth calls it a “zombie coal mine that would be a huge mistake for our environment, economy and international reputation”. In December 2022, more than a year after the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicated in its net zero emissions (NZE) scenario that there was no need for “new coal mines or mine extensions”, the West Cumbria Coal Mine (or Woodhouse Colliery Mine) became the first new deep coal mine to be approved in the UK in 30 years. The previous government granted a development consent order to West Cumbria Mining (WCM) for the development of the large underground metallurgical, or ‘coking coal’, mine at Whitehaven on the Cumbrian…

  • Australian solar project with 2,671 mile undersea cable to Singapore gains environmental approval

    Australian solar project with 2,671 mile undersea cable to Singapore gains environmental approval

    Australian renewable energy company SunCable has announced it has obtained principal environmental approval from Australia’s Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority to develop its Australia-Asia Power Link (AAPowerLink) project. The objective of the AAPowerLink project is to harness energy from solar panel farms in Australia’s reliably sunny Northern Territory, in an area known as Powell Creek in the Barkly region. This renewable energy will be stored in a nearby battery storage facility and then transmitted 24/7 to Darwin and Singapore via a high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system. This includes 800km of overhead transmission to Darwin and 4,300km of subsea cables to Singapore. According to SunCable, AAPowerLink is the world’s largest renewable energy and transmission…

  • Dual-headed floating wind turbine designed for deep sea applications is assembled in China

    Dual-headed floating wind turbine designed for deep sea applications is assembled in China

    A Chinese wind turbine manufacturer is a step closer to installing its giant floating offshore wind turbine platform in deep water following its assembly in the port city of Guangzhou. MingYang Smart Energy has launched OceanX, its new 16.6MW floating wind turbine design featuring a dual-turbine ‘V’ shape and with blade diameters of 182 metres. The firm made the announcement on a LinkedIn post, stating that the “innovative design optimises wind capture and efficiency”. The turbine has been specifically designed to operate in waters deeper than 35 metres. To keep it in place, the V-shaped structure is braced with high-tension cable stays and mounted on a Y-shaped floating platform. The floating platform weighs approximately 15,000 tonnes and is constructed with ultra-high-performance…

  • UK to import record amounts of electricity in 2024, nuclear industry warns

    UK to import record amounts of electricity in 2024, nuclear industry warns

    The UK is on course to import record amounts of electricity from abroad in 2024, raising concerns that domestic energy infrastructure is not adequate to meet demand. Figures from the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) showed that the UK relies on other countries to power more than 10 million homes, and June saw the highest ever proportion of imported electricity. Nine different interconnectors with a total capacity of 9.2GW link Britain to six other European markets. Nuclear energy from France is currently the leading source of imported electricity to the UK, the NIA said. Government data showed that net electricity imports from France to the UK totalled 12.7TWh last year, with nuclear making up the bulk of that power. France’s grid is made up of around 70% nuclear. Norway is the second…

  • Lucid claims to have achieved the best energy efficiency yet for an electric car

    Lucid claims to have achieved the best energy efficiency yet for an electric car

    US carmaker Lucid Motors has claimed that the 2025 model of its Air Pure range will be the most energy-efficient mass-produced electric vehicle (EV) released to date. The firm, which was formed in 2017 by former Tesla vice-president Bernard Tse, says the new model can achieve a “landmark” 5.0 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy, with a record 146 miles per gallon equivalent. The total range for the electric sedan is an estimated 420 miles, just one mile more than the 2023 model. However, this was achieved on a reduced battery size – 88kWh for last year’s version compared with 84kWh in 2025. Lucid said reducing the battery pack size allows more cars to be built from a given quantity of raw materials. When it is time to recharge, the smaller pack also reduces the demands on public power…

  • Agriculture could become UK’s leading climate change contributor by 2030s

    Agriculture could become UK’s leading climate change contributor by 2030s

    The agriculture sector could become the UK’s largest contributor to climate change by the middle of the 2030s as decarbonisation efforts falter, an analysis has revealed. The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that government data for the sector shows that progress on emission reductions for farming and land use is significantly off target. With the government pushing forward with efforts to decarbonise the UK’s energy supply by 2030, the ECIU finds that it is “likely” that agriculture and land use will leapfrog electricity generation this year to become the fourth biggest emitter. Emissions from agricultural activity are primarily generated by methane from livestock digestion, nitrous oxide from fertiliser application, carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels in…

  • UK grid operator outlines three ‘credible’ pathways to reach net zero by 2050

    UK grid operator outlines three ‘credible’ pathways to reach net zero by 2050

    The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has launched its 2024 Future energy scenarios (FES) report, which outlines possible pathways to “achieve a fair, affordable, sustainable and secure clean energy system by 2050”. Unlike previous years, in which the FES framework would assess a wide range of possible scenarios, the 2024 framework – Future energy scenarios: ESO pathways to net zero – presents a narrower range of pathways. Each pathway identifies strategic choices that can be made on the route to net zero. In the foreword to the report, Claire Dykta, National Grid ESO director of strategy and policy, said: “Decarbonisation of the energy system is the challenge of our generation. In recognition of the expansive industry transformation required to Great Britain’s energy network…

  • Burning ammonia as shipping fuel could create significant public health risks, according to study

    Burning ammonia as shipping fuel could create significant public health risks, according to study

    Ammonia has attracted wide interest as a source of zero-emission fuel for shipping, but a study from MIT has found that burning ammonia could significantly worsen air quality, leading to devastating impacts on public health. The huge container ships used to deliver cargo across oceans emit large quantities of air pollutants from their diesel engines that drive climate change and have human health impacts. It has been estimated that maritime shipping accounts for almost 3% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and that the industry’s negative impacts on air quality cause about 100,000 premature deaths each year. The International Maritime Organization has set goals to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 70% by 2050 compared to 2008 emission levels. One potential…

  • Twenty Starlink satellites fall to Earth after botched rocket launch

    Twenty Starlink satellites fall to Earth after botched rocket launch

    Twenty Starlink satellites have fallen to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere just days after being launched into orbit due to a faulty rocket. The Elon Musk-founded firm operates a constellation of over 3,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit that can provide a broadband-quality data service to devices across the globe, including in areas not served by traditional radio towers. On July 11, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with 20 additional satellites for the constellation. While the launch was a success at first, a liquid oxygen leak developed on the second stage, which prevented one of the engines from firing. Starlink confirmed that this technical issue left the satellites “in an eccentric orbit” that was just 135km above the Earth, which caused them to face higher atmospheric drag…

  • Regulator clamps down on North Sea oil and gas decommissioning delays

    Regulator clamps down on North Sea oil and gas decommissioning delays

    North Sea operators must take action on decommissioning oil wells to support the UK’s supply chain and stop costs spiralling, the industry regulator has warned. In its latest decommissioning cost and performance update, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) revealed that the North Sea oil and gas industry spent close to £2bn on decommissioning in 2023. However, despite this cost, operators only achieved 70% of planned decommissioning activities in 2023. Hundreds of wells will need to be decommissioned every year as more oil and gas fields shut down. In the decommissioning process, wells, once they have stopped producing, are plugged with concrete to protect groundwater resources and prevent surface pollution and methane emissions. Decommissioning is an expensive process. The report…

  • Laser communications promise 1,000-fold speed boost for satellite data

    Laser communications promise 1,000-fold speed boost for satellite data

    Earth-bound lasers sending data to orbiting satellites will increase communication speeds with space 1,000-fold, researchers have said. A team from the University of Western Australia (UWA) has developed TeraNet – a network of optical ground stations specialising in high-speed space communications. The network received laser signals from OSIRISv1, a laser communication payload aboard a German satellite developed by the University of Stuttgart. The signals were detected using two of the TeraNet optical ground stations during fly-bys of the satellite last Thursday. “This demonstration is the critical first step in establishing a next-generation space communications network across Western Australia,” said Sascha Schediwy, associate professor at UWA. “The next steps include joining this network…

  • New EV charging point installed every 25 minutes, ChargeUK finds

    New EV charging point installed every 25 minutes, ChargeUK finds

    A new public chargepoint for electric vehicles (EVs) is being installed every 25 minutes in the UK – roughly keeping pace with the expanding market for the new vehicles, a lobby group has said. The new figures come as a welcome reprieve after years of warnings that EV infrastructure was not being installed at the rates needed to meet climate targets. In 2021, a study even warned that that the installation of chargers would need to increase by five times the rate at the time if the plan to phase out petrol vehicles by 2030 was to be achieved. But ChargeUK’s latest analysis shows that there are now over 930,000 public, home and work chargers supporting around 1.1 million EVs – or nearly one charger for every EV. The group launched in April 2023 to represent 18 of the largest companies responsible…

  • Plan to expand one of Germany’s busiest autobahns sparks backlash from campaigners

    Plan to expand one of Germany’s busiest autobahns sparks backlash from campaigners

    A proposal to increase a section of Germany’s autobahn to 10 lanes has campaigners concerned that it will increase carbon emissions and noise pollution, as well as causing the demolition of homes and biodiverse habitats. The Autobahn 5 (A5) in Germany is one of the busiest highways in the country. Stretching 445km, it runs north to south from its junction with the A7 at Hattenbach to the Swiss border at Basel, closely following the Rhine. As it passes through many major cities as well as Frankfurt Airport, the A5 is notorious for heavy traffic. It is especially busy for 30km from a junction near Frankfurt Airport to the town of Friedberg to the north. This section is currently either six or eight lanes. A proposal to increase the A5 has been laid out in a feasibility study commissioned…

  • Will digital currency from central banks pay off?

    Will digital currency from central banks pay off?

    Central banks around the world are working on digitising cash. Will it pay off? The timing could not have been better for its fans. When the paper that introduced Bitcoin’s protocol appeared on Halloween 2008 under the pen name Satoshi Nakamoto, the financial system was running scared. Bitcoin was not about to fix the excesses of arcane financial magic gone wrong in the shape of collateralised debt contracts. But it promised believers with piles of cash a way to sidestep the traditional financial institutions. Nakamoto presented Bitcoin as ‘electronic cash’. But it shares few characteristics with cash other than the ability to spend it without relying on a bank or similar intermediary to process the transaction. Bitcoin enthusiasts are keen on one of these characteristics: it promises the…

    E+T Magazine
  • Japanese spacecraft gets up close with bus-sized piece of floating space junk

    Japanese spacecraft gets up close with bus-sized piece of floating space junk

    Astroscale’s active debris removal spacecraft, ADRAS-J, has sent images back to Earth of a close encounter with space debris in Earth’s orbit. Headquartered in Japan and with subsidiaries in the UK, US, France and Israel, Astroscale is a satellite servicing and space debris removal company. In February 2024, it launched ADRAS-J into orbit. Its mission is to test safe methods of approaching and surveying large pieces of space debris in orbit – what Astroscale calls rendezvous and proximity operations. To test its capabilities, ADRAS-J was aimed at a piece of floating space junk – the discarded upper stage of a Japanese H-2A rocket launched in 2009. This bus-sized piece of debris measures 11 metres by four metres, and weighs approximately three tons. In June 2024, ADRAS-J managed to get…

  • Traffic pollution exposure reduces the ability to live independently in later life, study finds

    Traffic pollution exposure reduces the ability to live independently in later life, study finds

    Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that prolonged traffic pollution is a strong risk factor for older adults losing their ability to live independently without the need for care. Internal combustion engines in petrol and diesel vehicles release fine particulate matter and gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) into the air that can harm the lungs, heart, brain and other parts of the body. The Michigan team conducted their research over a 10-year period. They started by looking at the lives of 25,314 older people in the US from 1996 to 2016. Dr Boya Zhang, lead author of the study and research fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said: “Air pollution is linked to worse health – more lung disease, more heart disease, shorter life expectancies and more likelihood…

  • ZeroAvia slashes cost of hydrogen production using AI

    ZeroAvia slashes cost of hydrogen production using AI

    The cost of producing hydrogen has been cut by 20% thanks to an AI programme developed by aviation start-up ZeroAvia. The firm, which is developing hydrogen-fuelled aircraft, said that real-world testing of its Smart Hydrogen AI Production Software (SHAIPS) can achieve the reduction in the cost of green hydrogen production compared to an electrolyser that generates based on the average electricity wholesale price. Green hydrogen, as opposed to blue hydrogen, is produced through electrolysis using a highly energy-intensive process from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydropower. It results in minimal carbon emissions, making it sustainable and environmentally friendly. However, it is currently more expensive due to high costs associated with renewable energy and electrolysis technology…

  • Labour to give local communities power to take bus services under public ownership

    Labour to give local communities power to take bus services under public ownership

    Louise Haigh, Labour’s newly appointed transport minister, has said the government will support local communities to take back control of buses through franchising or public ownership in a bid to improve services. Last year, a study found that passenger numbers on rural bus services had fallen to ‘historic lows’, with a large number of services being cut across England. As part of its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the UK has pledged to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport by 2050, which will require greater uptake of public transport services. Haigh has said she will save “vital bus routes up and down the country” and that efforts to deregulate the sector had failed, which is evidenced by the plummeting service levels. “Buses are the lifeblood of communities, but the system…

    E+T Magazine
  • Report by Nesta lays out a policy plan for government to accelerate heat pump installation

    Report by Nesta lays out a policy plan for government to accelerate heat pump installation

    The decarbonisation of home heating should be a top government priority if the UK is to meet its climate goals, finds UK charity Nesta. Its latest report – Delivering clean heat: a policy plan – highlights the UK’s need to make significant progress in how we heat our buildings and homes to meet future Carbon Budgets and the 2050 Net Zero target. Home heating accounts for 18% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and while the government is keen for us to switch from our current carbon-emitting heating systems to low-carbon alternatives such as heat pumps, progress has been very slow. Only 18,900 heat pumps were installed between May 2022 and December 2023. Considering there are 25.5 million homes in the UK still relying on oil or gas boilers, there is much work to do to ramp up installations…

    E+T Magazine
  • What the governent wants from the engineering sector

    What the governent wants from the engineering sector

    IET public affairs manager Tim Allison on how engineers and technologist must innovate and transform to face the challenges ahead. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Words spoken by President John F Kennedy in his inaugural address, and words that I suspect will be on the lips of whoever walked into Number 10 on 5 July. That’s because the incoming government will be overwhelmed on day one with requests for funding and proposals for changes to legislation. The process has already started, with ‘manifestos for…’ being published across every sector and region of the UK. But once the excitement of the general election is over, the new government will likely find that it has little time or budget for fulfilling requests and delivering ambitious…

    E+T Magazine
  • China continues to streak ahead of the rest of the world in building wind and solar projects

    China continues to streak ahead of the rest of the world in building wind and solar projects

    New data from Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has found that China is building almost twice as much wind and solar energy capacity as every other country in the world combined. While a GEM report published earlier this year found that China accounted for two-thirds of coal-burning power capacity in 2023, its most recent reports – Global solar power tracker and Global wind power tracker – found that the world’s second-largest economy is also leading the way in renewables development with 180GW of utility-scale solar and 159GW of wind power already under construction. The total of this wind and solar capacity is nearly twice as much as the rest of the world combined, and enough to power all of South Korea, the reports find. Wind and solar now account for 37% of the total power capacity in the…

  • Hydrogen-powered aircraft could service all flights under 750 miles by 2045

    Hydrogen-powered aircraft could service all flights under 750 miles by 2045

    Almost all air travel under 750 miles could be made with hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2045, researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have said. Alongside electric aircraft, hydrogen-powered flight shows promise in decarbonising the difficult-to-abate aviation sector. “If everything falls into place, the commercialisation of hydrogen flight can go really fast now. As early as 2028, the first commercial hydrogen flights in Sweden could be in the air,” said Tomas Grönstedt, professor at Chalmers. For hydrogen-powered aviation, short- and medium-range flights are the closest to being realised. A recent study from Chalmers shows that hydrogen-powered flights have the potential to meet the needs of 97% of all intra-Nordic flight routes and 58% of the Nordic passenger…

  • Vehicle-to-grid tech allows EV fleet to power grid during Australian blackout

    Vehicle-to-grid tech allows EV fleet to power grid during Australian blackout

    During an electricity blackout in Melbourne, a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) were able to feed power back into Australia’s electricity grid, according to a report from the Australian National University (ANU). Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, which uses the batteries of EVs to balance electricity load on the grid, has been demonstrated through a number of lab tests and field trials. V2G charging enables energy to flow bi-directionally – from the grid into an EV and back again. This means that the high-capacity batteries also act as backup storage cells for the electrical grid, and can be used as extra energy to power houses, buildings and anything else connected to the grid. Another potential application of V2G EVs is as a backup in case of unforeseen power cuts – for example, during…

  • Final satellite reaches orbit in Lockheed Martin’s weather forecasting constellation

    Final satellite reaches orbit in Lockheed Martin’s weather forecasting constellation

    Lockheed Martin has successfully deployed its last geostationary operational environmental satellite (GOES) in orbit just weeks after being selected by Nasa to build the next generation. GOES-19 was placed in geostationary orbit 22,236 miles above Earth’s equator earlier this week, completing the series of satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide accurate weather forecasts. It will track severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires, lightning, fog and other hazards that threaten much of North America, including the US, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Onboard GOES-19 is a new instrument that will allow the satellite to monitor solar activity and space weather and provide early warnings of disruptions to power grids, and communications…