Business

Wooden satellite

Japanese scientists build world’s first wooden satellite

The satellite dubbed LignoSat, a collaboration between Kyoto University and the company Sumitomo Forestry, is reportedly slated for launch in September onboard a SpaceX rocket. If successful, the tiny device — just four inches on each side — could represent a major breakthrough in space sustainability efforts. The idea is that it’ll burn up entirely upon reentry, vastly reducing its environmental impact compared to traditional metal spacecraft.

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Cargo ship at sunset

New piloting approach cuts cargo ship emissions by 17.3% in first trials

Currently, most cargo ships go as quickly as they can from port A to port B. When they get there, they sit still and wait at idle, continuing to burn fuel, until it’s time for them to dock. The Blue Visby Solution simply tells the ships to slow down, so they arrive at port right on time. Pushing all that bulk through the water at a slower speed cuts down hugely on hydrodynamic drag, so the engines burn considerably less fuel.

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Young saplings

Microsoft signs another reforestation-based carbon removal megadeal

Microsoft and nature-based climate solutions startup re.green have announced one of the largest-ever carbon removal agreements, with Microsoft purchasing 3 million tons of carbon removal credits over a 15-year period, generated through re.green’s reforestation projects in Brazil. The deal marks the second large-scale Brazil reforestation-focused carbon removal agreement for Microsoft, following a 1.5 million ton offtake deal with Brazil-based Mombak in December 2023, forming part of the tech giant’s initiative to become carbon negative by 2030.

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Wooden wind turbine

World’s first wooden wind turbine blades installed in Germany

Wooden wind turbines promise to significantly reduce CO2 emissions during construction and production costs compared to current turbine blades. Designed and manufactured by Voodin Blade Technology, a German pioneer in wind turbine blade manufacturing, the laminated veneer lumber blades are a more sustainable construction material than current materials and allow for easier recycling of decommissioned blades.

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Teal Wand

Groundbreaking at-home cervical cancer test granted ‘breakthrough’ status by U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The Teal Wand is an at-home self-collect device that aims to improve rates of screenings and provide a comfortable and accessible alternative to traditional pap smears. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now granted the Teal Wand with Breakthrough Device status; a designation awarded to medical devices that the FDA considers “life-saving” or “life-changing.”

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ClimeWorks Mammoth carbon removal plant

The world’s biggest carbon removal factory opens in Iceland

In 2021, the world’s first large-scale carbon removal plant started sucking CO2 from the air in a remote corner of Iceland. Now Climeworks, the company behind it, has opened a version that’s ten times larger. The new plant, called Mammoth, has installed 12 modular containers so far. By the end of the year, it will have 72, with the capacity to capture around 36,000 tons of CO2 per year.

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Person touching pregnant belly with hands forming a heart

Aetna agrees to provide equal fertility coverage for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. in landmark settlement

In a historic win for the LGBTQ+ community, Aetna reached a settlement today with a group of plaintiffs alleging medical discrimination in their fertility coverage. The insurance company is paying out $2 million to the members of the class action lawsuit, as well as restructuring how they cover fertility for queer couples moving forward. This marks the first big step toward ending fertility-based medical discrimination for LGBTQ+ couples.

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Creek flowing

‘NATURE’ becomes an official streaming artist to raise millions for conservation

Through the new “Sounds Right” project, ‘NATURE’ itself is registered as a streaming artist on major music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. This allows the Earth’s audio cameos to bring in money for protecting the environment worldwide. Streaming royalties earned by ‘NATURE’ will be collected by the EarthPercent conservation nonprofit, which hosts the Sounds Right Conservation Fund. The money will go to rights-based projects that focus on the world’s most biodiverse and threatened regions.

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Solar panels reflect sparkling light from the Sun

Japan “fossil fuel dinosaur” launches massive 20GW global renewables platform

Jera, Japan’s largest power company and one of the largest thermal power producers in the world, has announced the launch of a major new global renewables business, becoming the latest fossil giant to act on the existential threat of net zero to its business model. Based out of the U.K., the new company – called Jera Nex – will be tasked with delivering on Jera’s stated ambition to develop a massive 20GW of renewable capacity by 2035, enough to power millions of homes.

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Power plant polluting

Germany shuts down seven brown coal power stations at end of winter

Seven coal-fired power stations in Germany were shut down over Easter as the need for the power declined, power generators RWE and LEAG say. Five had been taken out of the reserve by the German government to cope with a shortfall in gas supplies through the winter, and a further two had been allowed to continue operating after their scheduled shutdown date, the companies said.

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