From the Web: Germany unveils zero-emissions train that only emits steam

Germany is set to introduce the world’s first zero-emission passenger train to be powered by hydrogen.

The Coradia iLint only emits excess steam into the atmosphere, and provides an alternative to the country’s 4,000 diesel trains.

Lower Saxony has already ordered 14 of them from French company Alstom, and more are likely to be seen around the country if they are judged a success, reports Die Welt.

Testing is set to be carried out by the end of the year, before it opens up to the public in December 2017.

The train was first presented at Berlin’s InnoTrans trade show in August, and it is set to be the first hydrogen-powered train to regularly ferry people over long distances.

The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have expressed interest.

Learn more (INDEPENDENT) >>

From the Web: These Tiny Houses Help Minimum Wage Workers Become Homeowners

If you live in Detroit and make only $10,000 a year, you still might be able to buy a newly constructed house. On two vacant blocks in the city’s northwest side, a new neighborhood of tiny houses was designed to help people living in poverty become homeowners.

Through a rent-to-own program, residents will pay $1 per square foot in rent each month. For a 250-square-foot house, for example, rent is $250, when a similar home in Detroit might normally cost twice as much. After a maximum of seven years, the house can be fully paid off.

Learn more (via FastCompany) >>

From the Web: BMW gears up for electric buses with Proterra investment

Electric bus upstart Proterra shifted into a higher gear Tuesday with another substantial funding round: a $55 million infusion led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and the corporate venture arm of German automaker BMW.

The new backing is intended, at least in part, to fuel Proterra’s investments in additional manufacturing capacity at its plants in Los Angeles and Greenville, South Carolina, said Toby Kraus, vice president of finance and strategy for the 13-year-old company.

Proterra previously raked in about $290 million, including a $140 million round disclosed in January. So far, the company has delivered about 100 electric buses to nearly 40 public transit agencies in locations ranging from big cities such as Seattle to smaller communities in Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina. As of early June, it was sitting on orders for 300 more of them.

Learn more (via GreenBiz) >>

From the Web: Prince Was a Secret Patron of Solar “Purple Power”

Before his abrupt death a year ago, the pop musician Prince made an investment in green energy that’s now helping solar start-ups weather an assault from President Donald Trump.

It started with a conversation in 2011 between Prince and his friend Van Jones, a CNN commentator and California human rights agitator and onetime green-jobs adviser to President Barack Obama.

“He asked, ‘If I have a quarter-million dollars, what can I do with it?’” Jones recalled in an interview. “My wife said he should put solar panels all over Oakland.”

That led to the creation of Powerhouse, a rare for-profit incubator dedicated to putting clean-tech entrepreneurs together with investors. The company has helped 43 start-ups get on their feet in an era when venture capital funding for renewables has plunged and Trump is working to slash funds for early-stage entities from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Learn more (via Bloomberg) >>

From the Web: The circular economy enters the world stage, with Finland leading the way

 

 

 

 

 

Saving the planet might sound like reason enough to change our ways. But the circular economy is as much about creating value, profits and jobs.

For instance, a circular economy could bring estimated net savings of €600bn (£523bn) to European companies. In Finland alone circular solutions could provide €2bn-3bn (£1.7bn-2.6bn) added value annually.

Finland is at the forefront of the shift to a circular economy. Leaders and experts from 90 countries meeting at the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki this week.

Learn more (via The Guardian) >>

From the Web: 37% of Norway’s new cars are electric. They expect it to be 100% in just 8 years.

The global electric vehicle (EV) revolution reached another milestone last month as EVs made up 37 percent share of Norway’s car market.

In December, the country hit 100,000 zero-emission EVs on the road, projected to quadruple to 400,000 by 2020. These numbers are especially remarkable for a country of only 5.2 million people. Over five percent of all of Norway’s cars are EVs, up from one percent two years ago.

Norway’s transportation minister says it is “realistic” that sales of new fuel-burning cars could end by 2025. EVs may win on straight economics then, but the country — and others — have been considering outright bans.

Learn more (via ThinkProgress) >>

From the Web: Packaging Food With Food to Reduce Waste

For the environmentally conscious eater, they are among the most inconvenient truths: Too much food goes to waste. Too much packaging comes with the food. And too much of the packaging is made to last for ages.

Now there may be a single answer to all three problems: using excess food to make the packaging.

A growing number of entrepreneurs and researchers are working to turn foods like mushrooms, kelp, milk and tomato peels into edible — if not always palatable — replacements for plastics, coatings and other packaging materials.

Learn more (via The New York Times) >>

From the Web: Interface: Now You Can Sequester Carbon in the Carpet

“We have a ton of parking lots. Why?” Erin Meezan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Interface, Inc. asked rhetorically in a recent interview, describing the iterative systems-based approach her company takes to sustainability at their Atlanta, GA headquarters, “We can park on grass.” Grass is, of course, permeable and allows rainwater to soak in, creating a living ecosystem and carbon sink as opposed to storm drains which funnel water, and the trash and debris it picks up along the way, directly out to sea. But I digress. This is just one of dozens of examples Meezan shared with me as she described her company’s efforts to treat the “factory like a forest.”

Interface Inc. — a public company with a $1B market cap — was one of the first companies to take a bold, public stand on climate change. But that doesn’t mean they put sustainability ahead of product. Instead, they use sustainability as a differentiator to push innovation. “There are hard-nosed business people on our board who understand the business value of sustainability,” Meezan explains.

Its founder, Ray Anderson, had a personal epiphany that let him to use his carpet company company as a tool to make the world better. The company is sustainable through and through, and prior to Ray’s death in 2011, he was the perfect spokesperson for the movement. He sold plenty of carpet along the way.

Interface has carried on his mission and continued to innovate with research into new products. Their goal is to prove that business can be a climate positive actor. Meezan explains,”We make stuff. How can the stuff we make serve as a carbon sink?”

Learn More (via TriplePundit)

Post-Paris, The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA Now More Than Ever

From the Editors

In the wake of the kerfluffle over the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, we at The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA believe, among others, two very important things.

First, ain’t no stoppin’ us now. Climate change and sustainability, and resource sustainability, represent the most significant economic and business development opportunities in a generation. The business and economic case for these opportunities — to say nothing of the environmental case — is powerful and, arguably, irreversible. According to the New York Times, these opportunities represent a $6 trillion market by 2030. The shift is happening, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement — while discouraging — will do little, if anything, to derail the immense problem solving opportunities, and rewards, around climate change.

Everyday, someone is breaking new ground in the production, conservation, or distribution of clean renewable energy. Everyday, someone is reinventing how we move around — how we transport ourselves and the things in our lives in revolutionary ways that save energy, space, and time. Everyday, someone is innovating and inventing new technologies that change the way we build, rebuild, heat, cool, and live in our homes and businesses while consuming as little as the earth’s resources as necessary.

In short, with or without the Paris Agreement capitalism, disrupted and reinvented, is a force — along with many others — to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.

Second, our Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is part of the solution. More important than ever post-Paris, we must develop a new generation of business leaders who will build, innovate, disrupt, and reinvent climate change-focused enterprises in a world that demands it. In other words, UVM’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is more important than ever and its graduates increasingly more vital to sustainable businesses.

While traditional MBA education simply turns out people educated in business models, approaches, and ethics that are more a part of the problem than the solution, our mission is to prepare leaders to transform today’s businesses and invent tomorrow’s ventures through a lens of sustainability.

We believe our students and alumni are uniquely prepared to be change agents and to lead within enterprises — or start new ones — that are solving the world’s most pressing problems — including climate change, and with or without a Paris Climate Agreement.

And, in this new reality, we believe our students will be in greater demand by businesses, enterprises, and organizations than ever before.

Learn more, and apply to a program that will not only change your life, but change the world, too.

From the Web: REI Moves Ahead With Its Green Initiatives

Despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris Climate Accord on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, many American businesses are moving forward with green initiatives. That is because going green will likely be less of a financial burden to corporate treasury groups as time goes by, said author and former Executive Forum speaker Andrew Winston.

Winston noted that major companies like REI, Boeing, UPS Wal-Mart, Google, Microsoft and Apple all use substantial amounts of renewable energy, and are reaping the benefits. “It’s not a small experiment anymore; there are tons of big companies like this,” he said. “And all of them see it as a good deal because they’re saving money.”

Learn more (via AFP) >>