Mark Watts C40

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in London, joins us on his recent visit to Australia. His C40 network supports cities to share knowledge and drive measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

Andrew Longmire talks ZCA Land Use Plan


Andrew Longmire, researcher for BZE's Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Land Use Plan, provides the latest updates on this project. The Land Use Plan is undergoing peer review and comment, and is sheduled for release towards the end of 2013.

Then Beyond Zero's Vivien and Beth talk to Walter Jehne from Healthy Soils Australia (HSA), a public not for profit company with a national outlook, and an inclusive focus to build a network of awareness about healthy soil. Walter Jehne is a former CSIRO soil scientist and is now Director at Healthy Soils Australia, working with groups of innovative farmers, and the former Governor General Michael Jeffery to make farming more profitable and more sustainable.

Arabella Forge, a Melbourne based nutritionist and author talks about her book 'Frugavore: How to grow your own, buy local, waste nothing and eat well'. Arabella believes ‘anyone can be a frugavore,’ and it’s all the little things that we do in our lives that can have the greatest impact. By simply changing our mentality of how we purchase food, dispose of waste, and grow some of our own, a lot can be achieved from our own back doorsteps.

Joakim Hauge CEO, The Sahara Forest Project

Joakim Hauge is the Chief Executive Officer and Board member of The Sahara Forest Project and holds an MSc in biology from Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo.

Sydney Council's Gas Gamble

By Justin Field and Norman Thompson

Sydney City Council wants to install gas generators as part of its sustainability plan - but there are concerns the scheme could encourage coal seam gas development in NSW, write Norman Thompson and Justin Field

Sydney Council’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan targets a 70 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emission compared to 2006 levels in the city’s local government area.

A large part of this reduction is planned to be achieved by building a network of gas burners throughout the city that will simultaneously provide power, heating and cooling to public and private buildings. This approach is known as trigeneration, or trigen.

The gas burners will use natural gas, ultimately taking the city off the coal fired electricity grid. Sometime prior to 2030 the city hopes the trigen system will begin to use biogas generated from processing of municipal waste and the digestion of crop residues.

In April 2012 Sydney Council signed an agreement with Origin Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary Cogent to begin building the trigen system. The total cost of this project will be $440 million (in 2010 dollars) by 2030.

Biogas no saviour for Sydney’s trigen plan


The City of Sydney plans to build a network of gas burners, each of which would simultaneously provide power, heating and cooling to public and private buildings.

The City believes that this approach – known as trigeneration – would reduce the carbon emissions of connected buildings by 40 to 60 per cent.

Unfortunately, rolling out a trigeneration network would have the highly undesirable consequences of fostering coal-seam gas production – which has dire environmental side-effects – and reducing the amount of biogas available to chemical and industrial processes.

It would also be a missed opportunity to build a grid powered by wind and solar. We have already covered this in our earlier article at Renew Economy.

Talking biogas, using coal-seam gas

Building the trigeneration network would result in greater demand for gas in NSW. This is because it would displace grid electricity that is currently largely drawn from non-gas sources (ie coal).

The future of gas supply in NSW is clouded with doubt. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in April, the NSW state government has warned that ”Bass Strait and Cooper Basin gas supplies are dwindling at a time when the gas export industry is growing at an extraordinary rate.”

This means that, for the foreseeable future, the demand for extra gas will stimulate growth in the dirty, unconventional gas sector – shale gas in SA, and coal-seam gas in QLD and NSW.

Image: Lemvig biogas plant in Denmark

Riggs Eckelberry, President and CEO of Origin Oil, converting algae into renewable oil

Beyond Zero's Anthony Daniele talks to Riggs Eckelberry, President and CEO of Origin Oil, a Californian company helping algae growers convert algae into a renewable crude oil which is a direct replacement for petroleum in the production of transportation fuels, chemicals and plastics. OriginOil’s patent-pending, next-generation 'Biocrude System' technology is set to enhance algae biomass harvesting and oil extraction, to take advantage of benefits such as

Benefits of Producing Algae Oil
* Algae is fast growing – each oil-producing cell can mature in just hours
* Algae is oil-rich — contains as much as 60% of its dry weight in oil
* Algae is carbon neutral – meaning that it does not affect climate like petroleum
* Algae is fuel efficient – as much as 1000 times more productive than corn

Riggs has a long history in the technology management sector and is now utilising these skills in the alternative energy sector. In January of 2011, Riggs Eckelberry was named to the Advisory Board of the National Algae Association.

Florian Amlinger talks biogas and waste management

Beyond Zero's Vivien Langford talks to Florian Amlinger, a consultant for the Ministry of the Environment in Vienna. Florian is an expert in biogas and waste management. He talks about the development of biogas digesters and technology in Europe which are used on a commercial scale.

Bendigo Advertiser: Power potential in city

Bendigo Advertiser reports: BENDIGO has the natural resources to be 100 per cent renewable, a forum heard yesterday.

Young Environmentalist of the Year Matthew Wright, from Beyond Zero Emissions, said Bendigo could, with the money and infrastructure, obtain enough solar energy to provide base load power.

“Bendigo is well placed to be a net energy exporter,” Mr Wright said.

Mr Wright was a guest speaker at the Bendigo Sustainability Group’s Repower Bendigo Forum, which attracted about 60 people yesterday at the Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE.

The forum set the theme for another renewable energy conference taking place today, the national Community Power Conference, which looks at how communities can start and own their own energy projects.

Rhys Freeman from CERES talks about Electric Vehicle project and general EV technology

Beyond Zero's Matthew Wright speaks to Rhys Freeman from CERES, a centre of community environmental projects in Melbourne, about the CERES Electric Vehicle project and general EV technology.

Chris Field discusses runaway climate change

Chris Field of the Carnegie Institute, Washington, discusses the nitty gritty of climate change with Matthew Wright and Scott Bilby of Beyond Zero Emissions.
There are huge quantities of super-potent methane in the Siberian Permafrost.  How much will escape into the atmosphere is uncertain.  Perhaps enough to initiate runaway climate change.

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