Missed the news last week? Not to worry – here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days.
Qantas uses mustard seeds in first ever biofuel flight between Australia and US
“A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on Tuesday. The 15-hour flight used a blended fuel that was 10% derived from the brassica carinata, an industrial type of mustard seed that functions as a fallow crop – meaning it can be grown by farmers in between regular crop cycles. The world-first used a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 on a scheduled passenger service, QF96, and reduced carbon emissions by 7% compared with the airline’s usual flight over the same LA to Melbourne route. Compared pound for pound with jet fuel, carinata biofuel reduces emissions by 80% over the fuel’s life cycle. Daniel Tan, an agriculture expert from the University of Sydney, said mustard seed could double as a valuable crop and a source of sustainable fuel for farmers. “Almost within a day after harvesting, they can press the oil out in their own shed and use it straight into their tractors,” he said. “Basically it’s good for growing, and also farmers can also use it. If they grow wheat every year it’s not good for the soil. They can grow mustard seed in between the wheat crops, every second or third year, press the oil and use it locally or export it for use in aviation fuel…” via The Guardian.
Dangerously low on water, Cape Town now faces ‘Day Zero’
“It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. “Day Zero” is coming to Cape Town this April. Everyone, be warned. The government cautions that the Day Zero threat will surpass anything a major city has faced since World War II or the Sept. 11 attacks. Talks are underway with South Africa’s police because “normal policing will be entirely inadequate.” Residents, their nerves increasingly frayed, speak in whispers of impending chaos.The reason for the alarm is simple: The city’s water supply is dangerously close to running dry.If water levels keep falling, Cape Town will declare Day Zero in less than three months. Taps in homes and businesses will be turned off until the rains come. The city’s four million residents will have to line up for water rations at 200 collection points. The city is bracing for the impact on public health and social order. “When Day Zero comes, they’ll have to call in the army,” said Phaldie Ranqueste, who was filling his white S.U.V. with big containers of water at a natural spring where people waited in a long, anxious line. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way for Cape Town. This city is known for its strong environmental policies, including its careful management of water in an increasingly dry corner of the world…” via NY Times.
“Blue Planet II fans missing their weekly journey into the world’s oceans can get even closer to the action after the BBC teamed up with Airbnb to offer would-be David Attenboroughs a trip on the series’ research vessel Alucia. Three competition winners will enjoy two nights in the Bahamas on the vessel with producer Orla Doherty. They will even dive beneath the waves in a submersible to explore Cape Eleuthera, one of the most biologically diverse areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Doherty said: “Having spent 500 hours in the submarine and countless weeks at sea filming the deep sea for Blue Planet II, the Alucia almost feels like my second home…” via The Telegraph.
World’s first smog vacuum cleaner heads to Poland
“After touring in China, Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project will offer a vision of clean air in a new location: Poland. Daan Roosegaarde’s studio will install a Smog Free Tower – described by the studio as “the world’s first smog vacuum cleaner” – in Kraków’s Park Jordan. Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower will start sucking pollution out of the air in Park Jordana from February 16 to April 15. Visitors to the project will also have an opportunity to see the Smog Free Ring at a Smog Free Project pop up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK). The tower, which is almost 23-feet-tall, draws on patented positive ionization technology to scrub the air of pollutants. Roosegaarde told Inhabitat last year the tower offers “a local solution on a park level: to create these bubbles of clean air in the city.” He said areas around the tower are “55 to 70 percent cleaner than the rest of the city” – and research from the Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed the tower’s efficacy…” via Inhabitat.
“Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish furniture giant IKEA, has died, the company has announced. “The founder of IKEA and one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away at the age of 91,” the company announced on its Instagram account. He died peacefully at home, the company said. The frugal billionaire, who was once listed as the eleventh-richest person in the world, started IKEA in 1943 when he was 18 years old. Over his lifetime built it into the world’s largest and most influential furniture retailer, with sales of around €36 billion in 2016 through stores in 49 countries. IKEA brought contemporary design to the masses and revolutionised product design, manufacturing and distribution. It transformed domestic taste in the UK, partly thanks to its cheeky “Chuck out your Chintz” ad campaign from 1996. The brand’s influence has if anything increased in recent years: the firm was named the most newsworthy force in global design by Dezeen late last year, when it topped Dezeen Hot List. Kamprad was notoriously frugal, turning up to meetings with documents in plastic bags according to people who met him, and buying clothes from second-hand stores. He was also a Nazi sympathiser in his early life and spent several decades living as a tax exile. Kamprad was born in Småland, southern Sweden in 1926 and raised on a farm. He started selling matches to neighbours when he was five and soon expanded to seeds, greeting cards and Christmas decorations, according to IKEA’s website…” via Dezeen.
Woodworking Crafts Magazine were kind enough to give us a 4-page spread in their January issue, focusing on us as a team, three case studies and our PassivPod project. Read the full 4 pages here.