Lancea LLP has worked with Regenerate Asset Management so are delighted to see the announcement of the launch of the fund. We feel that there is scope for the further development of agriculture as an asset class and the increasing development of regenerative practises should accelerate this.
Regenerate launches first European regenerative agriculture fund
Regenerate Asset Management, the specialist impact and climate investment manager, has announced the launch of its first fund – the Regenerate European Sustainable Agriculture Fund. The fund will invest directly in agricultural businesses growing and supplying regenerative and climate positive produce in Europe. These businesses are actively transitioning to sustainable or regenerative practices, such as improving soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water conservation, circular practices, nutrient density and farm emissions.
M&G’s Catalyst strategy is the cornerstone investor in the fund, investing up to €150m and acquiring a minority stake in Regenerate. Catalyst is a purpose-led flexible private assets strategy, investing in innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest environmental and social challenges. (company press release)
National Grid ESO unveils plan to speed up grid connections
UK energy developers have been beset by desperately long waiting times to get wind, solar and other renewables and green grid systems connected to the grid, in some cases being forced to wait up to 15 years in order to complete the permitting and planning process.
But in a bid to tackle the backlog, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) – which is responsible for overseeing the management of the UK grid – today announced additional targeted reforms to further speed up the grid connections process by up to a decade.
National Grid ESO said it had written to developers seeking grid connections to request updates on progress and energy project milestones – such as raising finance, buying land, getting planning permission, or breaking ground – so that non-viable projects could be identified, and to enable and those projects that are ready and able to connect faster.
Energy projects that are not progressing or are on course to miss key dates will then either be asked to move backwards in the queue or leave it altogether in order to make way for projects that are delivering against milestones, it explained.
According to the ESO, there are roughly 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling around 40GW – more than double peak demand in the summer months for all of Great Britain. However only half of these have planning consent and some have moved connection dates back by over fourteen years, it said. (businessgreen)
Homes must be energy efficient when sold
Minimum energy efficiency standards need to become obligatory for homes before the keys change hands.
That’s according to the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), which claims that eight million solid wall properties are currently uninsulated and are leading to higher energy bills for those that own them.
The trade association is calling for the government to implement new regulations for 2026 to ensure these new green standards would be in place before a property is sold.
In addition, it is calling for green financing schemes to also be made available to homeowners to allow them to make the necessary changes.
The ADE warns new regulations are urgently needed if the UK is to achieve the efficiency upgrades to 17 million homes by 2035, as outlined in the Heat and Buildings Strategy. (futurenetzero)
Anglian Water unleashes wastewater-to-wheels project
Anglian Water has partnered with hydrogen infrastructure company Element 2 to produce hydrogen from wastewater for use in vehicles, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in water recycling.
As part of the Triple Carbon Reduction Project, funded through Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge, Anglian Water will deploy an electrolyser system at its Cambridge sewage recycling plant.
This system will extract hydrogen and oxygen from wastewater, with the hydrogen being converted into a fuel suitable for use in hydrogen vehicles. (energylivenews)
photo: Anglian Water
EV OF THE WEEK
Zeekr 001 launched with 140 kWh Qilin battery
Zeekr is the luxury division of Geely Autos, and have launched a few cars in China, and soon elsewhere too. Titbits has reviewed the Zeekr 001 previously, so this week’s post should really be called “battery of the week”. This is the first sighting of CATL’s third generation pack to cell battery technology, which is claimed to generate 255wh/kg energy density, taking us into new territory.
The Zeekr 001 is the first car to run a Qilin battery, sized at 140kWh and early user reports suggest that extravagant claims of 1000km of range may not be exaggerated. Arena EV reported as follows:
Courtesy of the Chinese BiliBili user Jamie Kimi, we have a first range test of the Zeekr 001, 864 km (536 miles) from 100% charge to a completely dead battery. This is a real-life test, 4 adults, and a 120 km/h highway test which is absolutely hated by every electric car out there. The actual usable range was 840 km (521 miles) with the final 24 km being a crawl – but it’s always good to know that despite the car telling you the battery is dead, there is enough juice left to get you out of trouble.
This is way ahead of any other EV on sale now. (arenaEV)
Photo: Geely Auto
Energy intense industries need grid resilience
With grid instability and energy security continuing to prove challenging to industry across Europe, a new report is highlighting solutions for high energy users to navigate a complex energy market and avoid downtime from grid resilience issues.
As rising costs resulting from Europe’s energy crisis begin to settle, the report, titled Race to Resilience, indicates that ongoing energy instability means power supply remains a major concern for energy intense industries at risk of shortfalls.
According to Aggreko, high energy users across Europe are in a precarious position in terms of future energy supply and security, particularly as investment in capacity for renewables for the grid is increased. As the relief packages for businesses’ energy bills across multiple European countries finish in 2024 and the EU’s gas price cap agreement ends in February 2024, concern is being raised that this will compound issues further.
From this, the report explores how facilities can secure enough power both now, and in the future, highlighting a revised approach to decentralised energy as the route capable of improving security of supply, reducing transmission losses and lowering carbon emissions. (theenergyst)
Download the Aggreko report HERE
Proxima Fusion looks to take stellarators commercial
The first ever company to be spun out of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), Proxima was founded by former scientists and engineers from MIT, Google-X and the IPP. Several of these researchers have been involved with the development of the IPP’s Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), the world’s most advanced stellarator.
Using a complex set of electromagnets to confine super-hot plasma, stellarators are more technically challenging in some regards to the more widely used tokamak approach to fusion. However, if these challenges can be overcome, stellarators also offer advantages, operating in a steady state and managing excessive heat well. According to Proxima Fusion, the work carried out by the IPP since W7-X came online in 2015 has closed the gap between tokamaks and stellarators, with the latter now on a pathway to commercialisation.
Proxima’s €7m fundraising was co-led by London-based Plural Platform and Munich-based UVC Partners, alongside Germany’s High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and the Wilbe Group. The Munich startup says it aims to deploy a new high-performance stellarator in the coming years and its first fusion power plant within the 2030s. (theengineer)
photo: Max Planck Institute
FOCUS ON: BIOFILIC DESIGN
Biofilic Design – Enhancing Sustainability Through Design
Biophilic design prioritizes sustainability, striving to reduce our ecological footprint. It promotes the use of energy-efficient lighting, ventilation systems, and renewable resources. By minimizing reliance on artificial lighting and air conditioning, biophilic design helps conserve energy and reduce environmental impact.
Additionally, the incorporation of sustainable materials like reclaimed wood and eco-friendly textiles ensures that our indoor spaces are not only visually appealing but also environmentally responsible.
Bringing nature indoors through the inclusion of plants, living walls, and biophilic elements is at the heart of this design philosophy. Indoor greenery not only enhances aesthetics but also improves air quality by purifying and oxygenating the environment.
Natural light is a key element in biophilic design, creating a sense of openness and connection to the outdoors. Maximizing the use of windows, skylights, and light-reflecting surfaces allows ample daylight to flood our living spaces. This not only decreases the demand for artificial lighting but also has several health advantages. Natural light helps to control our circadian rhythm.
In urban areas where access to green spaces is limited, biophilic design plays a vital role in creating sanctuaries that mimic nature.
Rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, and communal green spaces offer respite from the concrete jungle, providing urban dwellers with a sense of tranquility and connection to the natural world. (blueandgreentomorrow)
Photo: Ohalo123/Wikimedia Commons
Why architects love Biophilic design
Biophilic design encompasses three fundamental principles: direct nature experiences, indirect nature experiences, and spatial configurations. Through the integration of elements such as plants, water, natural light, organic forms, and materials that evoke nature’s essence, architects create spaces that mimic and embrace the natural world. These principles harmoniously blend the beauty of nature with functional design, enhancing both the aesthetics and functionality of our surroundings. Here are three examples:
Bosco Verticale, Milan:
This visionary project, designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, features two residential towers adorned with over 20,000 trees and shrubs. The living green facade acts as a biological filter, reducing pollution, mitigating the urban heat island effect, and enhancing biodiversity within the heart of the city.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, an architectural masterpiece nestled amidst the lush forests of Pennsylvania, showcases an organic integration with its natural surroundings. Designed in 1935, this iconic residence dramatically captures the essence of biophilic design. It seamlessly combines flowing water, cantilevered balconies, and expansive windows, creating an immersive experience where the boundaries between indoor and outdoor blur harmoniously.
Photo: Wally Gobertz/Flikr
Apple Park, California:
Apple Park, the visionary office complex in Cupertino, California, redefines the corporate landscape with its commitment to biophilic design. Designed by Foster + Partners, the campus features a central park adorned with over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees. (theengineer)
Photo: Wallpaper Flare
The Philippines Needs Offshore LiDAR To Measure Wind Power
On March 15th, BlueFloat Energy, a major offshore wind developer, announced that its Winds of September project has taken a step further by successfully deploying a floating LiDAR in the waters off Hsinchu, Taiwan. This floating LiDAR gathered local metocean data, including wind, wave, and current, already resulted in initial data necessary to develop the floater and mooring system design, as well both determine and refine the wind data assessment.
Scanning and floating equipment are quickly replacing met masts in the offshore wind industry. Industry specialists agree that the technology has already come to a required maturity for large-scale commercialization. And this is why Bluefloat wants to encourage the use of floating LiDAR in its new and upcoming project in the Philippines. (ledinside)
photo: Bluefloat Energy
Scientists Identify Bacteria That Can Break Down ‘Forever Chemicals’
Researchers have identified soil bacteria able to break down some PFAS chemicals, known as “forever chemicals” because they take decades to degrade naturally.
PFAS are used in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams, and have been linked with higher cholesterol, lower fertility, developmental delays in children, and a greater risk of developing kidney, prostate, or testicular cancer.
Scientists behind a new study discovered that two kinds of bacteria, Desulfovibrio aminophilus and Sporomusa sphaeroides, can break down chlorinated PFAS, a subgroup of PFAS used to repel water in packaging and electronics. The microbes are able to sever a key chemical bond in those PFAS, unraveling the compounds, rendering them harmless. The findings were published in the journal Nature Water. (yale360)