Tag Archives: feature

Hype, hyperloop and the hovertrain

If you’ve ever traveled on Britain’s East Coast mainline, you may have idly looked out the train window around Peterborough and seen this curious sight. It looks like a plane with no wings, perched on a concrete beam. It is in fact all that remains of the hovertrain, a prototype high speed rail system that […]

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Would driverless cars be better for the environment?

Last week I was with the Royal Society at their Emerging Technologies conference, where we were discussing how various technologies were going to impact society. In the work stream that I was part of, we talked about cultured meats and insect protein, solar with battery storage, and the internet of things. We also talked about […]

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Car tyres in a circular economy

Last week I wrote about the various options for dealing with the world’s waste tyres. We can recycle them, grind them up into asphalt, or burn them for energy. But clearly, the easiest solution is stop generating a mountain of 1.5 billion waste tyres every single year. In a circular economy, the basic philosophy is […]

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What can the world do with 1.5 billion waste tyres?

Car tyres are a major global waste problem. Collectively we drive 1.5 billion tyres to the end of their useful lives every year. They can be retread and reused up to a point, but not endlessly. And at the end of their usefulness you have a conundrum. End of life tyres (or ELTs) are difficult […]

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Where are your ten trees?

I was writing up some details about Wangari Maathai’s life this week, for a talk that I’m preparing. If you’re not familiar with Maathai, she was a formidable Kenyan woman who set up the Green Belt Movement of community tree planters. The organisation has planted 50 million trees since its founding in the late 7os, […]

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Will we ever have electric planes?

Slow it may be, but the transition to electric vehicles is now well underway, with the promise of substantial reductions in greenhouse gases to come. Someone asked me recently if a similar transition was possible in aviation – will we ever have electric planes? The usual answer is no, not any time soon. Getting a […]

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Transport innovation of the week: good coach travel

One of the benefits of having an airport a couple of miles from my house is that I have good coach connections and get all round the country with relative ease. The downside is that they are coach connections, and so I rarely take advantage of this. Rather than taking the most direct route, coaches […]

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Let’s save Britain’s lost cycle path network

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how London once had the beginnings of an electric taxi fleet, which was then lost for 120 years. Here’s another lost sustainable transport initiative that could still be recovered: Britain’s 1930s cycle path network. Beginning in 1934, the Ministry of Transport began building cycle paths alongside new […]

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Hybrid solar panels for electricity and heat

I’ve written in the past about passive solar heat, such as Trombe walls, solar furnaces or solar heating walls. The idea is more familiar is solar hot water systems. But did you know that solar heat and solar electricity can be combined? Hybrid solar panels have been on the market for a while, but the […]

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Three ways to deal with plastic bottles

Last year there was a fairly high profile report on plastic waste, and it generated a lot of discussion. It showed that of the 78 million tonnes of plastic produced globally each year, only 2% gets recycled back into new plastics. 40% ends up in landfill, and just short of a third goes into the […]

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