Six of the best strange but true energy stories in 2018
With the end of 2018 just over a week away now is a good time to look back at this year’s strange but true energy stories.
Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park, Staffordshire, picks his favourite six green events of 2018.
- Parents who bought electric scooters as Christmas presents have been warned by police after Teesside youth court imposed six points on the future driving licence of a 15-year-old boy for speeding in a public place on a stand-up scooter with a powerful electric motor. The scooters, which are illegal on roads and pavements, can travel at more than 30mph.
- Scientists trying to stop the Great Barrier Reef in Australia being killed by climate change are working on an idea to spray sunscreen on to the sea surface and to create clouds to block out the sun. The Australian tourist attraction, which attracts two million visitors a year and generates 64,000 jobs, is devastated by heat causing the coral to be bleached white and to expel the algae living in their tissues. The recovery rate for the coral has declined by 84 per cent since 1992
- Prince Charles has suggested the UK should follow the example of Sweden which has brought in a new national day when children pick up litter and clean up their surroundings. The Prince of Wales said he used to take Prince William and Prince Harry out into the Norfolk countryside during their school holidays with black plastic bags to tidy up the area.
- When the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said there was no evidence that a “latte levy” to cut down on single-use coffee cups would work civil servants at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office proved him wrong. They have saved more than half a million disposable cups since April this year at all the canteens and cafes in its UK offices. They gave customers who brought their own cups a 25p discount and charged those who took a single-use one an extra 25p. The numbers of those bringing their own reusable cups increased from seven per cent to 42 per cent in six months.
- Biologists at The Royal Botanic Gardens in west London told experts that they had discovered a plastic eating fungus which could break down waste within weeks rather than hundreds of years. The fungus had been found on a rubbish dump in Islamabad, Pakistan. Professor Katherine Wills, the director of science at Kew, said fungi could help develop clean fuels and clean up areas polluted with high levels of radiation.
- Researchers at Columbia University in New York have designed a paint that reflects 96 per cent of the sun’s heat leaving a building’s walls 6C cooler. They say the benefits could greatly reduce the need for air conditioning and would be very useful in hot countries where cooling buildings account for around 17 per cent of electricity consumption.
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