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December 6th, 2012:

Plastic bulb development promises better quality light

Science & Environm

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News

Wake forest university researchers

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US researchers say they have developed a new type of lighting that could replace fluorescent bulbs.

The new source is made from layers of plastic and is said to be more efficient while producing a better quality of flicker-free light.

The scientists behind it say they believe the first units will be produced in 2013.

Details of the new development have been published in the journal Organic Electronics.

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“Start Quote

What we’ve found is a way of creating light rather than heat”

End Quote Prof David Carroll Wake Forest University

Brighter white

The new light source is called field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology. It is made from three layers of light-emitting polymers, each containing a small volume of nanomaterials that glow when electric current is passed through them.

The inventor of the device is Dr David Carroll, professor of physics at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He says the new plastic lighting source can be made into any shape, and it produces a better quality of light than compact fluorescent bulbs which have become very popular in recent years.

The new light source is said to be twice as efficient as fluorescent bulbs

“They have a bluish, harsh tint to them, ” he told BBC News, “it is not really accommodating to the human eye; people complain of headaches and the reason is the spectral content of that light doesn’t match the Sun – our device can match the solar spectrum perfectly.

“I’m saying we are brighter than one of these curlicue bulbs and I can give you any tint to that white light that you want.”

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Lighting up the world

  • Lighting accounts for around 19% of global electricity use
  • A worldwide switch to low-energy bulbs could save the output of around 600 power plants

There have been several attempts to develop new light-bulbs in recent years – Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have come a long way since they were best known for being indicator lights in electronic devices. Over the past decade, they have become much more widely used as a light source as they are both bright and efficient. They are now often used on large buildings.

Light not heat

Another step forward has been organic LEDs (OLEDs) which also promise greater efficiency and better light than older, incandescent bulbs. Their big advantage over LEDs is that they can be transformed into many different shapes including the screens for high-definition televisions.

But Prof Carroll believes OLED lights haven’t lived up to the hype.

“They don’t last very long and they’re not very bright,” he said. “There’s a limit to how much brightness you can get out of them. If you run too much current through them they melt.”

The Fipel bulb, he says, overcomes all these problems.

“What we’ve found is a way of creating light rather than heat. Our devices contain no mercury, they contain no caustic chemicals and they don’t break as they are not made of glass.”

Prof Carroll says his new bulb is cheap to make and he has a “corporate partner” interested in manufacturing the device. He believes the first production runs will take place in 2013.

He also has great faith in the ability of the new bulbs to last. He says he has one in his lab that has been working for about a decade.

INCINERATOR: Council agrees to new groundbreaking recycling contract
INCINERATOR: Council agrees to new groundbreaking recycling contract

Published on Wednesday 5 December 2012 09:30

West Norfolk could be the best recycling district in the country after
councillors agreed a ground-breaking scheme in opposition to plans for a
waste incinerator.

Members of West Norfolk Council have voted to enter into a conditional
contract with Material Works to recycle the area’s rubbish from April
2014 – which will be an alternative to incineration.

This technology will turn 90 per cent of the area’s domestic and
commercial waste into wood replacement products to be used in the
construction and other industries.

Councillors agreed to go ahead with the scheme during a meeting on
Thursday – a day after the incinerator pre-inquiry.

Deputy leader Brian Long said: “This scheme moves the council to be one of
the biggest recycling authorities in the country.”

Before the vote, Valley Hill ward member Michael Tilbury asked for an
amendment to a clause which would allow the company to deal with waste
from other authorities.

Mr Tilbury voiced his support for the scheme but said parish councillors
had raised concerns about waste from elsewhere being sorted in West

He said: “We don’t want Norfolk County Council bringing wagon loads of
rubbish across the county to West Norfolk. If the waste is coming to a
West Norfolk facility does that make it any less offensive than if it is
brought to a county council facility? What we are doing here is entering
into an contract which will make ammunition for the other side to fire at
us in the inquiry.”

Mr Long stated that the proposal follows the proximity principle, which
deals with waste in the area where it is collected. He said that
additional facilities could be built in different authorities.

The council agreed to a recommendation which was passed at the meeting.


The company will sort all waste collected by the council including
domestic black sacks and any trade waste.

what will it mean for the ?Incinerator plans?

West Norfolk Council has put Norfolk County Council on notice that it will
no longer be sending black bin waste to the county for recycling. This
could make the proposed case for an incinerator near Lynn considerably
weaker as the town’s waste would not be sent to any future county council

Asian Cities’ Air Quality Getting Worse, Experts Warn

HONG KONG — Air pollution has worsened markedly in Asian cities in recent years and presents a growing threat to human health, according to experts at a conference that began on Wednesday.

New Delhi is enveloped by a blanket of smog, caused by a mixture of pollution and fog.

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Clean Air Asia, a regional network on air quality management, aggregated data from more than 300 cities in 16 Asian countries and found that levels of fine particulate matter — a key pollutant in terms of its impact on human health — were below World Health Organization-recommended targets in just 16 cities, most of them in Japan.

Pollution levels in 70 percent of the cities, mostly in fast-growing, less developed countries like China, India, Bangladesh and Mongolia, exceed even the most lenient of several targets recommended by the W.H.O., the organization said.

“The economic rebound in Asia following the global economic crisis of 2008 has accelerated sales of both passenger and freight vehicles as well as power generation,” Sophie Punte, Clean Air Asia’s executive director, said in a statement. This “is putting pressure on urban air quality in the region,” she said.

The number of people living in cities in developing Asian nations is expected to swell by 1.1 billion over the next 20 years, making urban air pollution a particularly relevant issue for the region.

A study by the World Health Organization published in 2008 estimated that outdoor air pollution caused 1.3 million premature deaths worldwide per year, 800,000 of them in Asia.

Similarly, a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development this year warned that air pollution could become the biggest environmental cause of premature death by 2050 if action is not taken to improve air quality. The number of premature deaths from exposure to particulate matter is projected to reach 3.6 million a year globally by then, with most of the deaths occurring in China and India, the report said.

Britain could ‘leapfrog’ incineration stage

A senior European official has said that Britain could “leapfrog the incinerator stage” when it comes to future waste reduction, by using a mixture of policy and strategic business decisions.

Alan Seatter, deputy director-general of environment at the European Commission, said: “Britain has the opportunity avoid overcapacity and can leapfrog the incinerator stage to cut waste generated in the first instance. To do that we need more landfill charges, to increase waste streams and to improve product design.”

Seatter said that the EU was planning a waste policy review in 2014, but were not planning to impose any new legislation on the industry because, if the revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD) was implemented, it would create 500,000 jobs in the EU and landfill would decrease by 20%.

His comments came during a discussion on the future of EU waste policy organised by the Associate Parlimentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG), including strategies in Sweden and Norway which have resulted in an overcapacity for incineration.

In Sweden, only 1% of waste is sent to landfill, 33% is recycled and 51% is incinerated. Jonas Tornblom from the Envac Group based in Stockholm said: “In Sweden we need more recycling.”

Julie Hill, the chair of the Green Alliance’s Circular Economy Taskforce, told the meeting they had identified the Ecodesign Directive as a possible legislation that could help drive the circular economy, if it were amended to include labelling relevant to resource re-use or recyling.

Seatter said that the EU was looking at leading on EU-wide eco-labelling, which might include how resource efficient a product was, what proportion was made of recycled components, or how it was designed for disassembly or recycling.

He said this could lead to an amendment to the Ecodesign Directive, which currently refers to environmental perfomance of energy-related products, or a new eco labelling directive.

“Swiss, Norwegian, the United States, Japan, Korea [governments are] all interested in this topic… there is lots of potential for exporting. We believe this can stimulate demand for these [waste] products and offer a better choice to consumers.

“It’s is an experiment we are trying to undertake now. If it’s cheaper, if it’s simpler, if it leads to more uptake then maybe it will go into Ecodesign Directive or an eco labelling directive.”

Seatter also said that despite the fact the waste and recycling market was scheduled to double in size by 2030, especially in the developing world, the “financial system is broken and we have seen a decrease in lending especially to small firms”.

He said the EU is working to promote better venture capital schemes, and “increasing EU Investment Bank capital by 45-60m Euros, which are earmarked for resource efficiency in the next three years”.

Costs adding up as incinerator ash being shipped to Alberta

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake was not available for comment on Wednesday, but said in an interview earlier in the week that the long-term risks associated with the project were too great.


Costs adding up as incinerator ash being shipped to Alberta


VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

PublishedWednesday, Dec. 05 2012, 8:00 AM EST

Last updatedWednesday, Dec. 05 2012, 9:47 AM EST

Metro Vancouver is paying about $50 per tonne – potentially up to $500,000 a year – to ship fly ash from its Burnaby incinerator to a disposal facility in Alberta instead of to the Cache Creek landfill in the B.C. Interior.

And while Metro Vancouver is taking the position that any extra costs associated with shipping the material out of the province are to be borne by Covanta Energy, which operates the Burnaby incinerator, those arrangements have yet to be finalized.

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“We understand there are some additional costs to ship to the Hinton landfill and those are being borne by Metro at this point in time,” Matt Neild, facility manager for the Burnaby incinerator, said Tuesday. “The discussion about costs and apportioning those would be a conversation we would have in the future.”

Metro has said it believes Covanta should foot the bill for shipping fly ash to an Alberta facility that is approved to handle hazardous waste. “Metro’s position is that any additional costs would be Covanta’s responsibility,” Paul Henderson, Metro Vancouver’s manager for solid waste, said Monday in an interview.

The potential cost dispute follows concerns about potentially hazardous waste being trucked to a landfill that was not built or approved to accommodate the material.

Fly ash is particulate matter left over from the incineration process. In October, the province launched an investigation after concerns that about 1,800 tonnes of ash shipped to the Cache Creek landfill had exceeded guidelines for hazardous materials, including cadmium.

As that investigation continues, fly ash is being shipped to a facility near Hinton that is approved to handle hazardous materials.

Provincial Environment Minister Terry Lake has said he is confident there is no risk to public health or the environment and that it was a “non-compliance” issue.

The facility handles about 280,000 tonnes of garbage per year, or about 25 per cent of the region’s total, and produces steam and electricity.

On-site testing of individual loads of fly ash leaving the Burnaby facility showed normal readings, Covanta spokesman James Regan said Tuesday in an e-mail. “We are confident that none of the ash trucks leaving the facility exhibited a hazardous characteristic and that at this point, it is premature to conclude otherwise.”

But laboratory results from samples collected in July and August showed different, potentially higher levels, prompting the review.

The potentially hazardous shipments came to light after Wastech, the company that runs the Cache Creek landfill, requested test results that did not show up when expected. That gap was the result of internal reporting problems at Covanta’s Burnaby operation, Mr. Regan said in his e-mail.

“With regard to the reporting of the July/August 2012 composite test results, Covanta Burnaby’s internal reporting procedures failed to properly communicate to stakeholders. We deeply regret this human error and have put redundancies and training in place to ensure that it does not happen again,” Mr. Regan said.

The concern about potentially hazardous ash from the Burnaby incinerator comes as Metro Vancouver is considering another waste-to-energy plant in the region, where some municipal officials are against the idea over potential health and pollution concerns.

Health impact of incinerators must be studied, says new report

A major study on the potential health impacts of controversial waste incinerators should be carried out, a committee has recommended today.

The National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee said the Welsh Government should consider contributing to such a study.

It made the call after it was given expert evidence that emissions from an incineration plant were likely to contain more contaminants than emissions from a conventional power plant.

Toxicologist professor Vyvyan Howard, of Ulster University, told AMs in May that incineration plants burned waste, including heavy metals and synthetic plastics that were likely to cause poisonous fumes.

And despite conceding that an official UK government study failed to establish convincing links between incinerator emissions and public health problems, the committee today says the Welsh Government should look into it.

The news comes as an incinerator planned for Cardiff has sparked major opposition locally.

Viridor Waste Management’s plant, which has gained planning permission to build in Splott’s Trident Park, is in pole position for the tender of Prosiect Gwyrdd, a partnership between five councils – Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan – which aims to find a solution for their combined waste.

The collective waste of the councils makes up 40% of Wales’ overall waste.

Today’s report says the Welsh Government should consider helping explore potential risks associated with the release of very small particles from incinerators.

It added that by working with the UK government, the EU and other stakeholders, a major health review could help alleviate the fears of anti-incineration groups.

The committee chair, Mid and West Wales AM William Powell, said: “The committee has made this recommendation as a way to address the concerns of the petitioners who brought this issue to our attention.

“We recognise that the Welsh Government and local authorities need to find a reliable way to deal with the relentless stream of waste and we have no doubts that the debate surrounding its disposal will continue for some time.

“This is clearly an issue people feel passionately about and the committee is encouraged by the dedication of those petitioners who continue to seek more efficient and sustainable ways for us to live within our own ecological footprint here in Wales.”

The original petition calling for a review of waste disposal services, and in particular Prosiect Gwyrdd, came from Terry Evans, the chair of the United Valleys Action Group (UVAG), who successfully campaigned against a £400m energy-from-waste plant near Merthyr Tydfil last year.

He said there were “many, many better technologies” to treat waste than dioxin-producing incineration, such as mechanical biological treatment (MBT).

Mr Evans said: “That petition is very much relevant to the whole of Wales because incineration should be the last resort for the job of leftover waste.

“There are many, many better technologies for waste.

“There are still big question marks on health issues over incineration and in the last couple of years, things have come up about incineration and the health risks.

“Why should the Welsh Government take the risk of incineration when there are better methods safety-wise and better economical alternatives?

“We just don’t understand their blinkered approach.

“Let’s hope it goes to plenary in January or February and responsible AMs will ask questions of the government.”

Mr Evans added one of the biggest problems with the construction of incinerators was that they required lengthy contracts lasting 25 years.

He said with the Welsh Government committed to a target of 70% waste recycling by 2025, long-binding contracts for incineration didn’t make sense.

“The biggest damning thing about incinerators is that they require 25-year contracts of waste,” he said.

“Other technologies require about nine years.

“We are the only country in the world that is going up this road.

“Every other country is backtracking or other countries won’t have it at all and yet our government has chosen not to change it.

“They want to give companies contracts today on a tonnage that will not be there in 2025.”

Read more: Wales Online

Christine Loh wants a more holistic strategy to fight air pollution

Submitted by admin on Dec 6th 2012, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

Christine Loh says government must go beyond reducing exhaust emissions and take a more holistic approach to reducing air pollution

Efforts to clean up vehicle exhaust fumes must go hand in hand with other measures, such as car-free zones and road tolls, if the air in pollution hot spots is to become more breathable, the undersecretary for the environment says.

Christine Loh Kung-wai highlighted steps that would complement the city’s focus on phasing out old diesel vehicles, upgrading bus fleets and improving fuel and emission standards.

“It is just no longer possible to work on tailpipe emissions to improve air quality,” Loh told hundreds of overseas guests and air pollution specialists during the Better Air Quality conference held at Polytechnic University yesterday.

She added after the conference: “If we want to tackle roadside pollution, we need to do several things.”

A comprehensive plan to clean up the air would feature in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address in January, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said at the same event.

Last month, the Audit Commission reported that the city’s proposed air quality standards were not tough enough to protect public health, while controls on harmful emissions were ineffective or stalled by red tape.

The auditor called for a clear road map and timetable to boost health protection.

Every year since 2006 the city had missed the Environmental Protection Department’s target of no days with the air pollution index over the “very high” level of 100, the report noted.

Instead, the days with excessive air pollution rose rapidly year after year, from 74 in 2007 to 175 last year.

Loh said that in 1982, Hong Kong conducted the world’s first study on electronic road pricing, but had yet to reach a consensus 30 years later.

London and Singapore had used road pricing to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, she noted.

However, Loh refused to be drawn on whether the Environment Bureau wanted to revive public debate on road pricing, saying only that the bureau and relevant departments must share a long-term goal of improving air quality.

In 2009, road pricing was listed as one of three dozen short- to long-term measures aimed at cleaning up the air. At the time, the government said toll charges would not work in Hong Kong until enough roads were built to divert traffic and ease congestion.

Apart from road tolls, Loh also supported pedestrianising more roads to protect people from the effects of roadside air pollution.

She said Hong Kong was far better equipped than many developing regions in Asia – where 800,000 premature deaths each year are blamed on air pollution – to combat the problem, given its rich resources and knowledge.

What was needed was better co-ordination within the government to work out long-term plans for new transport measures, she said.

She also highlighted the importance of conducting long-term research into the health effects and costs of air pollution.

A green network, Clean Air Asia, launched a “hairy nose” campaign yesterday to raise public awareness of air pollution and urge people “not to adapt to air pollution”.

The group showed a series of pictures at the conference venue, including one of Loh wearing a fake nose with long nasal hair to symbolise the need for long hair to filter bad air.


Christine Loh Kung-Wai

Air Pollution

%road tolls

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Whatever happened to global warming for the past 16 years?

Submitted by admin on Dec 6th 2012, 12:00am



Howard Winn

One of the “inconvenient truths” that is not getting much attention at the UN climate conference in Doha is that for the past 16 years there has been no discernible increase in global temperature. Data from Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre shows that global warming has fallen well short of the predictions in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 1990 that the world would warm at a rate equivalent to 0.3 degrees Celsius or more than 0.6 degrees Celsius by now. It will be recalled that at the time this report was greeted with near hysteria. However, the reality has been that since 2000 the measured increase was 0.14 degrees Celsius and just 0.3 degrees Celsius in the 22 years since 1990, which is about half what the “consensus” had predicted. A consequence of this, you might think, is to question the models on which these forecasts were made. However, the response of the “consensus” has been that the new data confirms there has been “a pause” in global warming. Climate change and man’s contribution have sharply divided the scientific community and despite the voluminous reports from IPCC, the science remains inconclusive as to the extent to which this is caused by man-made activities. If this hiatus in global warming continues for five more years or so, this could prove embarrassing for policymakers who have been setting aside billions of dollars to combat this pause in global warming.

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