Thursday, 1 November 2018

Fracking

I am very grateful to be living in Wales, where the Welsh Government, as usual, so much more progressive than the UK Government, has placed a moratorium on allowing permissions for fracking. However as a UK citizen as well as a Welsh one, I am horrified that the UK Government is supporting another fossil extraction industry at the time when it is so clear that fossil fuels should be left in the ground and all resources available for energy use should be put to increasing those industries that use renewable energy. One week after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change launched its latest report, telling us we have just 12 years to limit climate catastrophe, we have a government that is simultaneously massively rewarding the fossil fuel industry while jailing those trying to stand in its way. Climate change is the greatest threat to mankind at this time, creating the pressures that cause wars and population migration. I really wish that our Government will get real and start thinking about the well being of future generations instead of getting mired down in internal party jockeying for position, unfortunately our country has to sit on the sidelines until we get the next chance for a change of UK Government.

On the 1st November the Guardian carried a piece indicating that a lot of conservative MPs, particularly those with fracking sites in their constituencies are getting cold feet about this crazy industry.  The Government raised the level of tremor from 0.5 to 1 to give the frackers more lee-way, unfortunately this higher level was very quickly exceeded  by Cuadrilla in the Ribble Valley.  I cannot help but expect that the whole industry will collapse long before it produces any profit, and the Government will be left to clear up abandoned sites.

I cannot see anyway in which fracking makes sense, but still we lurch forward with it.
PH

Plastic

Recently the BBC 4 "Costing the Earth" programme featured plastic pollution.  There were two encouraging sections in the programme, firstly Biome Bioplastics talked about producing plastic products from vegetable materials. 
What will it take to create a good plastic system? They quoted a representative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
"We need to eliminate the plastics we don’t need and innovate the ones we need in order to make sure that all of them can be safely reused, recycled or composted. And we need to make sure that everything that we use is circulated so that it never becomes waste or pollution”
Secondly ReNew ELP which is a part of Armstrong Energy talked about re-cycling plastics into their component parts.

"Our technology provides an innovative solution to the global problem of end-of-life plastic disposal

ReNew ELP is at the forefront of a new, cutting-edge technology that can convert end-of-life plastic waste into refined synthetic hydrocarbon products, including low carbon synthetic crude oil, and valuable chemicals and waxes.
Using a unique, patented hydrothermal upgrading platform, the Cat-HTR (Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor), ReNew ELP will shortly commence construction of the world’s first commercial scale plant at its recently acquired site in Teesside, North East England. The plant will use our innovative chemical process to convert end-of-life plastic waste into sustainable oils and chemicals,
 contributing to the establishment of a Circular Economy.
ReNew ELP’s product is sustainable, stable, low sulphur and non-corrosive and can be blended within a conventional refinery to produce recycled oils and chemicals. The product can also be fractionated to produce valuable biochemicals, solvents, waxes and other petrochemical products.
ReNew ELP is developing the first commercial scale Cat-HTR plant in the industrial heartland of North East England, with the aim of reducing the volume of waste plastic that enters the environment. Our approach will demonstrate that a low-carbon, low-waste society can be achieved with the right focus, technology and investment.
Globally 311 million tonnes of plastics are produced per year, but only 5% is currently recycled. In the UK, over 2.5 million tonnes of plastics goes to landfill every year. Sorting plastics to enable them to be recycled is both challenging and expensive, but our patented technology enables this material to be processed into high value oils and chemicals, recovering scarce resources.  
ReNew ELP has an ambitious programme of development in the UK. Our first site in Teesside has a potential total processing capacity of 80,000 tonnes per annum. ReNew ELP is looking at other potential sites around the UK and is also offering to license the technology to waste producers and waste processing companies. The longer-term goal for ReNew ELP is to channel further investment into emerging technologies to support the creation of renewable and sustainable energy and useful chemical products."

Encouraged by these positives I contacted our MP to see what the Government were doing to encourage  the creation of a circular economy in plastics.  His reply was very similar to one several months ago, mentioning negotiating with supermarkets for plastic free aisles, and banning plastic cotton buds and straws ... later.  As his answer had nothing to do with my questions I responded and I am once again awaiting a reply.
PH