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The Food and Diets team for ZCB hosted a discussion workshop in London on January 24th. They presented their research and opened the floor to debate, which focused on ‘Minimal-Carbon Food & Diets’.

The event took place at the Open University, Camden, and was hosted by Peter Harper and Laura Blake, both researchers for Zero Carbon Britain. The delegates included a range of respected authorities within the field of land-use and nutrition research. An important topic for discussion was livestock products. Is it possible to simply remove livestock products from the normal UK diet? Meat consumption needs to be reduced if carbon emissions from land-use are to be minimised. However,  a resulting scenario would still need a nutritionally adequate diet and meat substitutes.

Other discussion points included assessing GHG implications of diets, food related behaviors and land-use in Britain. Dietary health is a very important factor in the new ZCB report and the team are committed to presenting a responsible diet in terms of carbon emissions. ZCBlog will report on the outcomes of this fruitful debate in upcoming articles.

  • Below is a round-up of other news covering everything from clean energy to carbon budgets:

Audi hopes to use solar and wind power to make renewable methane. The car manufacturer intends to use the synthetic fuel to power new natural-gas vehicles. MIT Technology Review writes about the process here.

In the new ZCB report we will propose the technology be used to produce methane gas from renewable electricity for storing energy for times when the demand exceeds supply.

The ZCB team have been testing the scenario against a range of weather conditions, including difficult weather years such as 2010 which had cold temperatures and lower than usual wind-speeds. The initial results are from hourly modelling using ten years’ worth of weather data, which is between 2002-2011. This modelling suggests that the scenario is robust but highlights the importance of adequate storage for biogas such that surpluses can be stored over months or even years and used when required.

The work is also raising interesting questions about the extent to which occasional peaks in net demand should be met by additional back-up capacity i.e. extra power stations that are rarely used. A market approach may see such spikes avoided as the price would become too high and demand would be reduced or shifted. However, it would not be desirable for price to exacerbate fuel poverty. ZCB would achieve most off its required demand shifting with automated control of uses such as electric car charging and hot water generation.

David Cameron launched DECC’s new ‘Energy Efficiency Mission’, which is designed to promote the government’s energy efficiency policies. The Prime Minister used his speech to stress that Britain must prioritise green energy; not only to minimise the impact of climate change but to benefit the economy as well. He insisted that:

Together we can make Britain a global showcase for green innovation and energy efficiency.” Read more…

Zero Carbon Britain project agrees with this statement but a clear and politically binding framework is needed if we are to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to the necessary levels.

Positive news from Spain! Wind farms there have broken energy records, generating more electricity than any other source in January. Read more…

New technology is being tested for British offshore wind. Forewind hopes to use ‘suction bucket’ technology to install 2,000 turbines at Dogger Bank. Watch a video explaining the technology here or read more…

More wind in Japan! Mitsubishi Corporation is taking an interest in offshore wind projects. Read about their development plans here and there’s more info about plans for windfarms at Fukushima here.

There’s more good news from America about US carbon emissions, which according to a new report are at their lowest levels since 1994. You can read the BCSE report here and here is an article summarising the findings.

Could we use geothermal to heat Britain’s homes? GT Energy thinks so because they are looking to build a plant in the northwest. Read more…

A nuclear power company has shelved plans to build new reactors in Britain. Centrica’s exit means no major UK company remains involved in plans for new nuclear reactors in the UK, but Centrica retains its 20% stake in eight existing nuclear power stations. The Guardian writes more here.

Carbon prices in Europe have fallen again. The EU’s emissions trading scheme has seen prices drop to an all time low. The Carbon Brief writes about the policy here…

 


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