The Olympic flame is well and truly alight in London and besides the obvious – and not so obvious – achievements on the track and field, streets, pool and ocean, the Games organisers are also being judged on how well they perform on the sustainability front. For the very first time, the Olympic Games are being measured by a new international standard – ISO 20121 – described as a practical tool for managing events so that they contribute to the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, environmental and social. We have a deep and abiding interest in this as SASA – Sustain Ability Showcase Asia – is taking the lead in Singapore (and anywhere else in Asia Pacific as required) to introduce a sustainable approach to events and ready to assist organisers and venues to get to grips with ISO 20121. An Olympic task maybe, but we believe that events large and small – just like businesses large and small – must adopt sustainable practices and start on the sustainability journey. We made a promising start with Asia’s first and only sustainable light art event earlier this year. There’s more to come – in this issue where we cover the Olympics and articles on many related clean and green topics – as well as in this business. Sustainability is not going to go away. And like the Olympics, which have been around for centuries, we are seeing more attention than ever to “going beyond green” to adopting a sustainable approach. Managing resources better. Using clean energy and managing waste. Taking an ethical and responsible approach to all things. What a way to go! – Ken Hickson
Archive for the ‘Express 171’ Category
The Komodo National Park in Indonesia – home of the famous Komodo dragon - also has one of the world’s most well-preserved coral reefs. However, it is being destroyed by illegal fishing. That’s just one of the environmental challenges facing the people and guardians of the island Flores. Described as a precious jewel in the Indonesian archipelago, Flores has a rich cultural history, breath-taking natural wonders and innumerable options for adventure tourism. For the first time ever, a conference is being held to focus on the urgent need to protect Flores and develop a sustainable development plan. Eco Flores Network Congress on 26 to 29 September 2012 on Labuan Bajo. Read More
Ken Hickson met and talked with Nina van Toulon, Founder of the Eco Flores Foundation, who is a champion for the protection of this unique collection of islands. SASA and ABC Carbon Express undertook to raise awareness and seek support for the Foundation’s efforts through this Congress in September as well as on-going efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment.
Eco Flores Foundation is already getting support from the New Zealand Government Aid Programme and WWF Indonesia. There is further commercial support coming from businesses, including Unilever, KLM and The Green Asia Group. But more is required to help the Foundation focus attention and funds on the environmental and sustainability, as well as support for the Congress, to enable more people to attend.
Here’s more about Eco Flores Foundation, the upcoming Congress and the attractions of island Flores:
Welcome to Eco Flores Foundation, a network organization that seeks to coordinate sustainability efforts on the island of Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia.
The Komodo National Park in Indonesia – home of the famous Komodo dragon - is also the location of one of the world’s most well-preserved coral reefs. However, it is being destroyed by illegal fishing. Just one of the environmental challenges facing the people and guardians of the island Flores. Described as a precious jewel in the Indonesian archipelago, Flores has a rich cultural history, breath-taking natural wonders and is blessed with exquisite and innumerable options for adventure tourism.
For the first time ever a conference is being held to focus on the urgent need to protect Flores and develop a sustainable plan. Eco Flores Network Congress on 26 to 29 September 2012 on Labuan Bajo.
On this website you will find information about the initiatives in various fields of sustainability of governmental, non-governmental and private enterprises. We promote networking and sharing of expertise for the long-term sustainability of Flores.
A precious jewel in the Indonesian archipelago, the island Flores has a rich cultural history, breathtaking natural wonders and is blessed with exquisite and innumerable options for adventure tourism.
Part of the eastern islands, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Flores is a beautiful, mountainous island stretching 360 km from east to west. It is part of a volcanic belt that stretches from Sumatra through Java and Bali to the Banda sea.
The first contact for the Florenese with the outside world was recorded in the 12th century by Chinese sandal wood traders. In the 16th century Portuguese traders and missionaries named the place ‘the cape of flowers’ for its exquisite underwater world of coral fish and other marine life.
Crystal clear waters, white and pink sandy beaches, jungle and mountains combined with a colorful parallel underwater world makes this a truly remarkable place.
Eco Flores Network Congress 26 to 29 September 2012 Labuan Bajo
To share knowledge and experience in support of the sustainable development of Flores. This covers the health of the local environment, the well-being of its population and their interrelation.
This congress should lead to:
- Defining sustainability issues on Flores at present and in the foreseeable future
- Identifying which expertise is present on Flores and whether such expertise can be used in other locations on Flores
- Which expertise is needed from outside if not present on Flores.
- Future role of the Eco Flores network.
The Eco Flores Network was founded in 2011. The organization operates under the premise that sustainability is inherently holistic. It also believes that large-scale social change comes from cross-sector coordination, rather than from the intervention of individual organizations.
Nina van Toulon, the founder of Eco Flores, brings together international teams of community advocates, professionals, business owners, scholars, conservation practitioners, artists, and educators.
Eco Flores began by connecting a few community projects in Labuan Bajo, whose population has rapidly increased in recent years. People have moved to the newly arising tourist hub with hopes of benefiting from the growing opportunities. The rapid development has led to concerns about waste management, health care, and education, to name a few.
Labuan Bajo is an example of how tourism must be cultivated so as to benefit all aspects of society. Eco Flores was thus founded with two goals: first, to deal with the immediate environmental issues that have emerged out of modern development; second, to promote a green-based movement on ecotourism, which becomes the backbone of the island’s economy. The goals shall underlie the extent to which sustainability will be achieved on Flores in the future.
In a little over a year, Eco Flores has evolved into an ever-growing network linking sustainability efforts across all of Flores island. The network has already found and connected hundreds of individuals, communities, projects, organizations, businesses, and government offices working towards sustainability on Flores.
In order to catalyze the connections and work of Eco Flores officially, the first-ever Eco Flores Congress will be held from September 26-29 in Labuan Bajo. Over 200 participants from Flores and around the world will convene working groups to draft action plans in their particular fields of sustainability. The congress hopes to mobilize green efforts on Flores by facilitating sharing of information, cooperation, and transparency about sustainability efforts.
For more information about the Eco Flores Network and the organization please visit www.ecoflores.org.
The Regional Tourism Development project (WISATA) – 2009-2013, covers Flores, an island in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). The project aims at building up an effective tourism destination management to strengthen the competitiveness of Flores as Tourism Destination, ensuring a sustainable flow of tourists and creating economic benefits for the local communities. With 5000 people working in the tourism businesses as the direct beneficiaries, WISATA works closely together with the local private sectors, communities and the 8 local district governments.
As part of the project outcomes, two new pocket sized-travel guides titled Flores: A Glimpse of the People & Culture and Flores: Diving around Komodo are released today. Especially geared to holiday planner or anyone interested in Flores, the books explore the island’s amazing natural wonders, culture and its indigenous people, mainland adventures and diving.
Flores: A Glimpse of the People & Culture takes readers to virtually experience the authentic Flores’ off beaten paths. Instead of presenting a comprehensive illustration on Flores multi spectrum attractiveness, the book as put by the writer is meant as an inspiration encouraging readers to unveil Flores hidden treasures. The book accentuates Flores shared features introducing the ethnicity, belief system, ritual and ceremonial life, past and present history. The second highlights the peculiar cultural features and places of Manggarai, Ngada and Nagekeo, Ende, Sikka, and Flores Timur, while the final chapters provide useful maps, travel and accommodation information.
Flores: Diving around Komodo serves as a reference to enjoy the most from the underwater beauty around Komodo National Park. Professional photographers contribute courtesy pictures portraying the radiant colors of the weird and wonderful sea creatures. The book elaborates in detail the profound know how and essential advice from the experienced local dive operators who have shared first hand information no one will supply such as carefully selected diving site maps including their attractive features; tidal currents and challenges unique to the area. Flores: Diving around Komodo centralizes on the importance of conservation and diving safety and security measures. In this way, readers will not only discover the rich diversity of Komodo National Park but also help protecting the wonderful nature.
The project WISATA – Regional Tourism Development on Flores Island is a bilateral cooperation between the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCTI) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Swisscontact is a Swiss foundation assigned to implement the project through technical cooperation in skill training and workforce development combined with support for targeted enterprises and value-added environmental initiatives.
Through Flores: A Glimpse of the People & Culture and Flores: Diving around Komodo, visitors are invited to explore the extraordinary.
Did you know that Flores is located in the world’s most diverse marine environment? The Coral Triangle is a six million square-kilometre ocean expanse that spans across six countries in Asia and the Pacific including Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. It contains 75% of all coral species known to man, which are home to thousands of species including whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, and six of the world’s seven marine turtle species.
This incredible ecosystem directly sustains the area’s human population of more than 120 million people with food. Through fisheries and tourism it accounts for an estimated total annual revenue of more than five billion US$! However, coastal development, overfishing, unsustainable tourism, illegal trade of endangered species and climate change, among others, are taking a heavy toll.
To raise awareness, and to empower individuals to take action towards the protection of this ecosystem, the first Coral Triangle Day was held on June 9 this year. An interpretation of World Oceans Day in this part of the world, the Coral Triangle Day brought together individuals, organisations and establishments in the region to promote the importance of oceans through activities such as beach clean-ups, sustainable seafood dinners, educational exhibitions, marine-themed bazaars, beach parties, and many more.
Individuals were encouraged to do something special to raise awareness and to contribute to the movement of conserving the ‘Amazon of the oceans’. They shared their videos and photos of these actions on the Coral Triangle online platform. Flores also joined in on this celebration; specific events were hosted in Labuan Bajo to show the world what they did for the oceans on this day, helping to create a regional community of Coral Triangle supporters.
What can a US political strategist tell us about the importance of global events like the London Olympics taking an environmentally-friendly and sustainable approach? CNN special contributor Maria Cardona says: “Going green is different from the social equality movements of the last century, but tackling climate change and our addiction to foreign oil requires a mobilization to change that recalls those earlier efforts.” Read More
What Olympics teach about going green
By Maria Cardona, CNN (28 July 2012):
London 2012 organizers have transformed a neglected area of the East End into a green and sustainable Olympic Park.
Maria Cardona: This year the Olympics have aimed, with some success, to be greenest ever. She says Games, and sports in general, are in a position to demonstrate green concepts. She says some sports stadiums are already embracing, leading on sustainability. Cardona: London transformed a polluted area for Games, shows what can be done. Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee
The Olympics are upon us. Every four years people all over the world tune in to breathlessly watch sports to which they would not otherwise give a thought (hammer throw? Sculling?). They do this as a matter of national pride. The same waxing and waning of our attention applies to environmental sustainability.
And this year there is a direct connection between the Olympics and sustainability — energy, water and climate issues. The 2012 London Games were aiming to be the greenest Olympics ever, and while there is a healthy debate in the UK about how well this turned out, organizers undeniably set a bold goal.
In a summer where this country is suffering through heat waves and drought that might have you wondering about the future of Winter Games, the push for the first sustainable Olympics is no small thing.
Sports may not have the biggest environmental footprint, but its visibility offers an opportunity for massive, worldwide cultural impact, bringing issues like energy use into the bright (renewably powered, please) spotlight.
It goes beyond the Olympics. Just last week the White House hosted an event examining how American professional sports teams are helping to bring innovative pollution-fighting practices into their facilities. For the teams, it is about saving money, sure. But it is also about that concept of social change, which is nothing new when it comes to sports.
Big cultural issues have long been reflected on the playing fields of our favorite teams. Look at Jackie Robinson breaking down racial barriers. Title IX and Billie Jean King breaking down gender barriers. Muhammad Ali taking a stand against the Vietnam War. Going green is different from the social equality movements of the last century, but tackling climate change and our addiction to foreign oil requires a mobilization to change that recalls those earlier efforts.
And if our ballparks and our athletes are seen as championing energy efficiency, cutting waste and using renewable energy, the message is that fans can do those things, too. Wind turbines (like the one at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians), and solar panels (in center field at Bush Stadium, not far from the Green Monster in Fenway Park, and on dozens of professional stadiums and practice facilities) are as American as apple pie — and their presence in those parks reinforce that fact.
The White House event focused on successes already in place from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and every other professional sports league in the country. And without a lot of public attention, they have made pretty amazing strides that set important examples for where our country can go.
Look at Seattle, where the Mariners saved themselves a million dollars by drastically cutting their energy usage (over five years, a 45% reduction in natural gas usage, a 30% reduction in electricity, and a 25% reduction in water usage). And the Staples Center is generating its own power with hundreds of solar panels.
If we are going to fight climate change, cut pollution and put the kibosh on our foreign oil dependence, this is just the sort of things we will need to do. Pro sports in America are leading by example by demonstrating to millions of fans that it can be done, that there are mainstream, apolitical solutions.
The Londoners are following our lead. As CNN has reported, the Olympic Stadium stands upon what was once some of the most degraded ground in Great Britain. Rivers that used to be some of the nation’s most polluted flow through the Olympic grounds. The building itself stands as an exciting exemplar of the old green maxim, “reduce, recycle, reuse” in the way its steel structure makes it the lightest stadium of its kind ever built. It uses about 1/10 of the steel that Beijing’s Bird Nest employed, including a tubular roof partly constructed of leftover gas pipelines.
The London committee is doing wonders to limit energy and water consumption. The bar has been set very high for Rio and other countries hosting future Olympic Games.
The potential cultural impact is enormous. I have seen it in person, having participated as a synchronized swimmer in the Pan-American Games in 1983. International games draw huge attention — and not just to high-profile athletes like Pernell Whitaker, the boxer who brought home the gold, and Greg Louganis, the diver who did so, as well.
The public took a keen interest in all aspects of the competition, including the construction of the venues. The examples that are set on that score can affect the global psyche. And as we have with many of the biggest problems facing the planet, Americans have led the green effort.
It’s something we can be just as proud of as our medal count. Now, who is our best hammer thrower this year?
Last October, CNN announced that Democratic strategist Maria Cardona has joined the the network for the 2012 election season, according to Sam Feist, CNN senior vice president and Washington bureau chief.
“Having spent all of my professional career in communications, public policy, and politics, I’m thrilled to join CNN as a political contributor, especially as we are entering the excitement of the upcoming 2012 presidential election cycle,” Maria Cardona said.
Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist and currently heads the public affairs practice at Dewey Square Group, where she founded the Latinovations practice that focuses on Latino strategic outreach on national, state and local levels. During the 2008 Democratic primary election, Cardona was senior adviser and spokesperson to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and served on the campaign’s Hispanic outreach team. During the 2008 general election, Cardona was a key surrogate for the Obama for America campaign. Previously, Cardona was a senior vice president for the New Democrat Network, and before that, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee. During the Clinton administration, Cardona served as a spokesperson at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce. In addition, Cardona will also contribute to CNN en Español.
Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said, drawing one of the first links between climate change and ozone loss over populated areas. The journal Science uncovered the risk of ozone damage which could increase if global warming leads to more such storms. New York Times reported on this. Read More
By Henry Fountain in New York Times (26 July 2012):
Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said on Thursday, drawing one of the first links between climate change and ozone loss over populated areas.
In a study published online by the journal Science, Harvard University scientists reported that some storms send water vapor miles into the stratosphere — which is normally drier than a desert — and showed how such events could rapidly set off ozone-destroying reactions with chemicals that remain in the atmosphere from CFCs, refrigerant gases that are now banned.
The risk of ozone damage, scientists said, could increase if global warming leads to more such storms.
“It’s the union between ozone loss and climate change that is really at the heart of this,” said James G. Anderson, an atmospheric scientist and the lead author of the study.
For years, Dr. Anderson said, he and other atmospheric scientists were careful to keep the two concepts separate. “Now, they’re intimately connected,” he said.
Ozone helps shield people, animals and crops from damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun. Much of the concern about the ozone layer has focused on Antarctica, where a seasonal hole, or thinning, has been seen for two decades, and the Arctic, where a hole was observed last year. But those regions have almost no population.
A thinning of the ozone layer over the United States during summers could mean an increase in ultraviolet exposure for millions of people and a rise in the incidence of skin cancer, the researchers said.
The findings were based on sound science, Dr. Anderson and other experts said, but much more research is needed, including direct measurements in the stratosphere in areas where water vapor was present after storms.
“This problem now is of deep concern to me,” Dr. Anderson said. “I never would have suspected this.”
While there is conclusive evidence that strong warm-weather storms have sent water vapor as high as 12 miles — through a process called convective injection — and while climate scientists say one effect of global warming is an increase in the intensity and frequency of storms, it is not yet clear whether the number of such injection events will rise.
“Nobody understands why this convection can penetrate as deeply as it does,” said Dr. Anderson, who has studied the atmosphere for four decades.
Mario J. Molina, a co-recipient of a Nobel Prize for research in the 1970s that uncovered the link between CFCs and damage to the ozone layer, said the study added “one more worry to the changes that society’s making to the chemical composition of the atmosphere.” Dr. Molina, who was not involved in the work, said the concern was “significant ozone depletion at latitudes where there is a lot of population, in contrast to over the poles.”
The study, which was financed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, focused on the United States because that is where the data was collected. But the researchers pointed out that similar conditions could exist at other midlatitude regions.
Ralph J. Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist and the president of the National Academy of Sciences, who reviewed the study for Science, also called for more research. “One of the really solid parts of this paper is that they’ve taken the chemistry that we know from other atmospheric experiments and lab experiments and put that in the picture,” he said. “The thing to do is do field work now — measure moisture amounts and whether there is any impact around it.”
“The connection with future climate is the most important issue,” Dr. Cicerone said.
Large thunderstorms of the type that occur from the Rockies to the East Coast and over the Atlantic Ocean produce updrafts, as warm moist air accelerates upward and condenses, releasing more heat. In most cases, the updrafts stop at a boundary layer between the lower atmosphere and the stratosphere called the tropopause, often producing flat-topped clouds that resemble anvils. But if there is enough energy in a storm, the updraft can continue on its own momentum, punching through the tropopause and entering the stratosphere, said Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
When Dr. Anderson produced data about five years ago clearly showing these strong injections of water vapor, “I didn’t believe it at first,” Dr. Emanuel said. “But we’ve come to see that the evidence is pretty strong that we do get them.”
At the same time, he added, “we don’t really understand what determines the potential for convection in the atmosphere,” so it is difficult to say what the effect of climate change will be.
“We’re much further along on understanding how hurricanes respond to climate change than normal storms,” Dr. Emanuel said.
The use of CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, was phased out beginning in the late 1980s with the signing of an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol, but it will take decades for them to be cleansed fully from the atmosphere. It is chlorine from the CFCs that ultimately destroys ozone, upsetting what is normally a balanced system of ozone creation and decay. The chlorine has to undergo a chemical shift in the presence of sunlight that makes it more reactive, and this shift is sensitive to temperature.
Dr. Anderson and his colleagues found that a significant concentration of water vapor raises the air temperature enough in the immediate vicinity to allow the chemical shift, and the ozone-destroying process, to proceed rapidly.
“The rate of these reactions was shocking to us,” Dr. Anderson said. “It’s chemistry that was sitting there, waiting to be revealed.”
Dr. Anderson said that if climate change related to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane led to more events in which water was injected well into the stratosphere, the effect on ozone could not be halted because the chemistry would continue. “It’s irreversible,” he said.
If CFCs had not been banned, the ozone layer would be in far worse shape than it is. But by showing that CFC-related ozone destruction can occur in conditions other than the cold ones at the poles, the study suggests that the full recovery of the ozone layer may be further off than previously considered.
“The world said, ‘Oh, we’ve controlled the source of CFCs; we can move on to something else,’ ” Dr. Anderson said. “But the destruction of ozone is far more sensitive to water vapor and temperature.”
The 2012 London Olympics is billed as the most sustainable one thus far, with a host of green measures ranging from the use of recycled materials for venue construction, to the extensive promotion of using public transportation to venues. This is set to be the new standard for future events and games and is also a pilot for a new ISO 20121 standard. Has the London Olympics set too high a bar to be followed by future games? Read more
Editor: The London Olympics are alight and besides the performances of athletes from 206 countries, we will be watching with interest to see how the Games live up to the pre-set sustainability standards.
We have followed the sustainability measures for the London Olympic Games with a lot of interest for some time.
We know it is the first time such an event has used the new ISO 20121 standard, which evolved out of the BS8901 standard, which we had some direct experience with in Singapore as SASA was the sustainability consultant’s for the sustainable light art event – i Light Marina Bay – in Singapore earlier this year.
See the case study at www.sustain-abiltty-showcase.com
We obtained from the British Commission some of the sustainability highlights of the London Olympics and also expert commentary from Colin Hunt, Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland.
From British High Commission Singapore:
Some additional examples of how the London Olympics will be remarkably sustainable, in particular in transport and waste management.
- 64 % of construction materials were transported to the Olympic Park by rail or water, thereby reducing the project’s carbon footprint.
- It is the first truly “public transport” Games. This includes the ‘Active Travel Programme’ to get tens of thousands of people cycling and walking to venues.
- 98% of material from the Olympic Park demolition work was reclaimed for reuse and recycling – exceeding a target of 90%.
- 2 million tonnes of soil were cleansed of pollutants and more than 80% of soil was reused on-site, in the UK’s largest ever clean-up of contaminated land.
- The use of temporary structures that can be dismantled and re-used after the Games – in particular, the Basketball arena, one of the biggest temporary venues ever built for a Games (see the photo below).
- 4,000 colour-coded recycling bins and composting bins are being placed at venues and the Olympic Park, aiming to achieve 70% re-use, recycling or composting during the Games.
The different ways the London Olympics 2012 has been planned and built while considering the angle of the local ecology.
- Carving out a new ecology of wildlife, plants and woodlands, the 250 acres of parkland is one of the biggest urban parks to be built in Europe for more than a century.
- It has been designed to mitigate the effects of climate change and increased rainfall in urban areas by acting as a sponge to help manage the water flow to the Thames.
- More than 4,000 trees, 300,000 wetland plants and over 8 kilometres of waterway have been installed for local residents and visitors to enjoy. There are more than 650 bird and bat boxes installed across the Olympic Park.
- Ecological aims have also been incorporated into venue design – e.g. the Main Press Centre has a ‘brown roof’, which uses seeds and logs reclaimed from the Olympic Park construction site to create new wildlife habitats.
Has the London Olympics really gone green, and what can others learn from it. The Brazil Olympics in 2016 and plans for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2018 have the opportunity to be sustainable too. Here’s an expert commentary from Australia:
By Colin Hunt, Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland (16 July 2012):
Green innovation: the upper compression ring of the Olympic Stadium main roof truss is made from 2,600 tonnes of surplus gas pipes. London 2012
For seven years, the London Olympics Organising Committee has been striving to live up to the sustainability vision it set itself. It’s been a long, honest fight. On the eve of the Games, how well have they done?
The case was made for a sustainable London games and Paralympics back in 2005, based on WWF’s Vision of a One Planet Olympics.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has tried to instill sustainability into every facet of construction and delivery. The Committee set sustainability objectives, standards and tools. There is even a powerful watchdog on the LOCOG — the Commission for a Sustainable London (CSL).
It’s not easy being green
Despite the commitment, failures in delivery have already attracted a good deal of attention. The most conspicuous is in energy, where the CSL criticises the lack of an effective plan. The renewable energy target will not be met, because a wind energy project was cancelled, and the carbon footprint will not be reduced by much.
London does not meet all EU air quality standards. This together with the need to cut greenhouse emissions prompted the development of impressive public transport infrastructure and links. However, diluting this is the provision of 4,000 cars to transport the “Olympic family”; and congestion on an ageing road network could still pose a problem. Rail transport from Europe is being encouraged. But the greenhouse emissions of international travellers are not accounted for and will be only marginally ameliorated by carbon taxes and airline offsets.
Sustainable fuels such as biogas could have been used much more for combined heating and cooling. Instead, fossil fuels will be prominent; 169,000 litres of diesel be used in power generators. The indirect energy consumption of offices and operational sites will be around 25 million kWh, sufficient for town of about 160,000, drawn mainly from the grid.
Materials reuse is very low. While nothing reaches the dump, recycling isn’t a perfect solution: it costs money and uses energy.
Some PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which contains the dangerous pollutants cadmium, lead and phthalates, is still being used on site; and some cooling systems still use HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), a powerful greenhouse gas. LOGOC makes the point that that future event organisers need to engage suppliers early to ensure safe alternatives are available.
The sustainability of Olympics sponsors is one of the trickiest “green Games” issues. Sanjeev Gupta/EPA
CSL has also criticised the sustainability of merchandise. By last month only one games partner, Adidas, had disclosed the location of its factories. And the consequences of appointing the Dow Chemical Company as an Olympic Partner have rebounded and continue to dog games organisers, taking the focus off achievements.
Delivering a physical legacy for some purpose built venues may be a headache. How will they attract users and revenues?
Games’ green achievements
It is inevitable that in a project of such ambition and scale there will be failures; but when measured against the impressive successes they seem relatively minor.
Some parts of the Olympic complex have been very well planned. The block that housed the construction offices is to be taken over by games administration; then post-games it will become commercial. The games village will become sustainable housing. And a 20-year programme will follow to deliver new homes and development to the precinct.
A hundred hectares of the Lower Lea River Valley, once a degraded industrial area, will be transformed to parkland, with an emphasis on encouraging the return of biodiversity.
But perhaps the most impressive of the green initiatives is the commitment to sustainably-sourced supplies. Sea freight and delivery by rail and water are mandated. Paper consumption is minimised. No food packaging will go to landfill and all food waste is to be composted. Water reclaimed from sewage is used for irrigation and toilet flushing. Moreover, all timber used in construction was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Much food will be from certified sources. The fish with your chips — whether from ocean, river or ponds — will be Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified; London became the first “sustainable fish city”.
Facilities built in the Lea Valley are planned to benefit the community in the long-term. London 2012
There are no less than 100,000 contractors involved in supplying the games, and all of them are subject to sustainability standards and tests. Innovations wrought among suppliers are expected to have a lasting effect.
An outstanding feature of the games planning and execution is the integration of physical with social and cultural objectives. The lower Lea Valley is being regenerated not just physically, but socially and economically.
There has been an alarming rise in obesity and an increase in inactivity in the UK. Thanks to the Olympics, local people now have facilities on their doorstep. Schools and communities are being encouraged to participate in physical activity and sport.
Thirty thousand out-of-work Londoners have been assisted into jobs. Targets for employment, with hiring free of discrimination, have been largely achieved. The training the unemployed receive should help them get post-games jobs.
But is the outlay of £9.3 billion (add blowouts and legacy costs) worth it? While good for business, it’s the taxpayer who’ll bear most of the burden.
The real cost is the opportunity cost. What else could £9.3 billion plus buy? What would have been the benefits if the money had been invested directly in the renewal of east London and lifestyle programs across the UK? Such autonomous programs would not have the added appeal of the olympics — a positive externality — nor would there have been the boost to tourism revenues. It will be fascinating to see the results of retrospective economic analyses.
Challenges for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
What are the implications of London for other major events? The Rio Olympics in 2016 is confronted by a high bar; but more comparable with London is the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. However, the Gold Coast’s games’ bid is more about the Gold Coast being open for business than about sustainability.
Such a sunny city: with a focus on renewable energy, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games could outdo London 2012 for sustainability.
Environmental targets are mentioned in Gold Coast’s bid, but none are actually specified. Motherhood rules, rather than standards and tools; the One Planet Principals are simply stated to be “very relevant”. When it comes to renewable energy there is no games target, simply a reference to the existing Australian government’s objective (20% of electricity from renewables by 2020).
Yet the delivery of renewable energy presents an ideal opportunity to outdo London. The Gold Coast boasts 287 days of sunshine a year, has good wind, and there is plenty of time to organise the production of biofuels.
Another obvious opening is to make sure the millions of meals to be served by licensed vendors are sustainable. As in London, all eggs, poultry and pork could be sourced from RSPCA certified farms. Furthermore, the Gold Coast could grasp the opportunity to become Australia’s first sustainable fish city. Such innovations would make for good publicity — as well as leaving a lasting legacy.
But does the Gold Coast have the vision?
The turn-around of Apple to rejoin the global environmental ratings system after just two days of dropping out, sends a strong signal that consumers are now casting a more discerning eye on environmental credentials when selecting electronic products. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a global registry to which consumers, government agencies, colleges and private corporations, can turn to for information when shopping for greener electronics. Read more
Apple rejoins EPEAT environmental ratings system
Tech giant makes U-turn just days after leaving electronic products standard in move executive described as a ‘mistake’
By Charles Arthur for the Guardian (16 July 2012):
Apple has been forced into an embarrassing volte-face, announcing that it would rejoin the American EPEAT environmental ratings system for electronic products just days after leaving it.
The reversal of the announcement, described by a senior Apple executive as a “mistake”, was apparently forced on the company by government agencies, schools and scientists which use EPEAT – the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool – to certify the environmental credentials of computers they are considering purchasing.
Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice-president of hardware engineering, wrote in an open letter on Apple’s site that “We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognise that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”
He insisted that “our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever”.
Apple’s move last week looked as though it could lead to a domino effect in which companies and government contractors might stop buying its products due to the lack of EPEAT certification. The city of San Francisco announced that it would stop buying Apple computers, and then to reassessments by US government agencies. Although Apple’s corporate sales are far smaller than rivals such as HP and Dell, such contracts are still important both for reputation and long-term stability.
EPEAT only applies to computers, but not tablets or phones. It was introduced in 2006, and is based on the IEEE 1680.1 standard. That covers elements such as the reduction or elimination of environmentally sensitive materials, material selection, design for end of life (when the product is replaced), product longevity/life extension, energy conservation (during manufacture and use), end-of-life management, corporate performance and packaging.
Apple has in the past year touted its own green credentials, most recently by announcing an internal initiative to use cleaner energy sources for its data farms in North Carolina. But it has come in for criticism from third parties for the design of its laptop products, notably the top-end Retina MacBook Pro, in which the RAM and storage are glued into the machine and are not user-serviceable or replaceable.
EPEAT bills itself as a global registry to which consumers can turn for information when shopping for greener electronics. According to EPEAT’s website, its users include federal and state government agencies, colleges, and several private corporations such as Ford and KPMG.
Apple’s decision this month to stop participating in the registry would have affected computer-related purchasing decisions by governments and universities because many them are required to use hardware that has been rated by EPEAT.
The city of San Francisco, for example, has a policy that its computers, laptops and monitors must be EPEAT “gold” rated.
Customers contacted Apple directly, which played a “critical part” in getting Apple back on the registry, said EPEAT chief executive Robert Frisbee.
“The scientific community in the US government are big users of Apple,” Frisbee said, adding that they were “particularly influential” in convincing the tech giant to resume its participation.
Mansfield in his letter said that “Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience” and that Apple looked forward to working on the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard used to build the tool.
Spain is showing that the use of biodiesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By comparing the emissions of urban buses running on fossil fuel and biofuel, researchers have discovered that although emissions are reduced, primary energy consumption increased. However, this increase can be eliminated through the improvements in energy efficiency measures. Can this also help governments introduce policies on environmental issues relating to urban transportation. Read more
EU Reports that Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through the use of biodiesel (17 July 2012):
Researchers in Spain have discovered that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through the use of biodiesel. The group from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in Spain investigated the benefits of using biodiesel by analysing and quantifying primary and fossil energy consumption on urban buses, as well as by analysing greenhouse gas emissions. The findings, said the researchers, could help decision makers introduce policies on environmental matters related to road transport.
The UPM’s University Institute for Automobile Research (INSIA) researchers, who applied a life-cycle analysis for this study, found that besides fuelling greenhouse gas emissions, the road transport industry makes a huge impact on the environment because its growth has triggered the depletion of fossil energy resources, including natural and petrol gases, in recent years.
It is important that alternative sources of fuel are identified to mitigate this growing problem. Experts are currently investigating alternative novel technologies for the post-treatment of exhaust gases. Can biofuels help? Some believe they can help put this problem to rest.
Biodiesel, for instance, is a renewable resource-generated fuel and includes animal fat and vegetable oil. This latest study paid particular attention to two areas: selective catalytic reduction with urea (SCR+urea) and the recirculation of gas exhaust gas with particulate filter (EGR+DPF).
In their life-cycle analysis, the researchers focused on buses belonging to the Madrid-based group Municipal Transport Company, with each bus equipped with post-treatment of exhaust gases technology. Three types of fuel were combined with the gases: diesel, B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% diesel) and B100 (100% biodiesel).
Their data showed that the use of this type of fuel cuts greenhouse gas emissions but boosts primary energy consumption. However, they pointed out that just a small percentage of this energy corresponds to fossil energy because biodiesel is generated from non-fossil resources like animal fats.
The team also discovered a boost in nitrogen oxides emissions and a drop in particles. According to them, their tendency is to expand as the mixture increases as well.
The researchers said overall fossil energy consumed by the use of biodiesel is the result of crop processes and transesterification. So crop processes need alternatives in order to cut the consumption of fertilisers. What experts need to do is generate a solid amount of fossil energy. Transesterification, meanwhile, needs to introduce cogeneration systems using renewable energy sources in transesterification plants in order to boost energy efficiency.
Not only can these findings be used to help introduce government policies in terms of environmental issues related to intercity road transport in Spain, but they can provide extracted information from an extensive review of relevant bibliography and from databases that experts call GEMIS or GaBi 4. The GaBi 4 community has upgraded energy balances, mass and emissions of key processes investigated in this study.
A waste management company based in UK, will soon offer food waste recycling service to business across Yorkshire. This service will benefit around 500 businesses in the area, and divert 2500 tonnes of food waste from landfill as it will be converted into renewable energy. Meanwhile, Singapore based Eco-Wiz introduced its latest food waste digester at Marina Bay Sands and signed an MOU during Singapore International Water Week and CleanEviro Summit collaborating with three companies to adopt handle food waste in economical and ecological ways. Read more
For Marina Bay Sands, Eco-Wiz have installed in their bin centres 2 units of our 1tonne system which recycles food waste into reusable water – ecoDigester.
The reusable water from the system is used for the washing of the floors for the bin centres as well as cleaning the mobile garbage bins. The system is installed with a bin lifter, which facilitates the throwing of food waste. All food waste is segregated from source into a mobile garbage bin and when it is full, the staff will push it to the system to allow the automatic throwing of food waste directly into the systems itself.
Eco-Wiz Group, a leading company in food waste management products is expanding beyond Singapore boundaries into the Asia and Europe Market with its unique, first in the world technology that recycles food waste into reusable water. Eco-Wiz is signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 3 companies from Asia and Europe with a total value of more than S$10million.
The official MoU ceremony took place in Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre during Singapore International Water Week and CleanEviro i earlier this month. MOU Signing Ceremony marks the collaboration of Eco-Wiz with these 3 companies to adopt Eco-Wiz technology in the handling of food waste in an economical and ecological way.
Lyfpod Holdings is signing an MoU of USD5million for the adoption of Eco-Wiz technology for the India Market. The Indian Government has been focusing on being green and environmentally friendly in recent years. Adopting Eco-Wiz technology will fit perfectly with the direction of the Government, and step ahead in this market.
NorSing AS has been an agent of Eco-Wiz for a year plus, and is taking steps to strengthen the agency relationship with the signing of the MoU of USD3million due to the confidence in the systems. Weishen Industrial Services, a local cleaning company is promoting the Eco-Wiz Technology to their customers for a more ecological and economical way of handling food waste, rather than sending them to the incinerators.
ECO-WIZ Group Pte Ltd is a leading and innovative manufacturer and distributor of food waste management products based in Singapore. Eco-Wiz Group offers exciting new technologies for onsite digestion and composting of all food waste within 24 hours into either reusable water or compost. This helps to provide a more eco-friendly environment with the elimination of onsite food waste storage which attracts vermin and reduction in usage of fuel during transportation of food waste, revolutionizing the waste management industry.
Eco-Wiz™ ecoDigester rapidly digests all food waste into clean reusable water which is virtually odor-free and can be used for cleaning purposes. ecoComposter recycles all food waste into compost which is a soil-amendment, and a key ingredient in organic farming, which can also be used for landscaping.
WRAP Funded Food Waste Collection Launched in Yorkshire
Waste Management World (10 July 2012):
Yorkshire based waste management company, Yorwaste has launched a service that will enable businesses across Yorkshire to recycle their food waste.
According the scheme will collect waste from around 500 businesses in areas such as York, Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Teesside and Scarborough.
The firm said that it estimated that over the next two years the scheme will divert 2500 tonnes of food waste from landfill, with Nestle and the University of York among the organisations to have already signed up for the service.
Customers that sign up to the new service will receive an orange wheelie bin and a kitchen caddy. The company said that they will be able to put food waste in the caddy, which must be lined, and once it is full the liner can be deposited in the larger 240-litre bin.
The company added that once collected the food waste will be taken to several anaerobic digestion facilities in Yorkshire, where it will be converted it into renewable energy.
The company said that it is one of only seven companies in the UK to receive funding from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to run a food waste collection service.
WRAP received over 40 applications for funding and the seven successful companies were selected for their different collection approaches and contractual arrangements.
“We are delighted to have received funding from WRAP to allow us to run a commercial food collection service in Yorkshire,” commented Steve Grieve, managing director of Yorwaste.
According to Grieve the service will have additional benefits because by removing food waste from general waste bins, the company will also be able to recycle more waste through its commercial and industrial material recycling facility in York.
“With Landfill Tax escalating and new processing and treatment options now available, there is a big demand from commercial businesses, particularly those in the food and hospitality sector, for a service of this nature,” he added.
WRAP Funds First Mile’s New Food Waste Recycling Scheme in London
First Mile, an Islington, London based recycling company, has launched a new food recycling service for central London businesses and supported by the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP).
Renewable energy is seeing adoption across a wide range of applications: Wave energy, generated using home grown technology by Carnegie, will power Australia’s largest naval facility and base. And a dairy company in Petaluma, California, has implemented renewable energy facilities at its processing plant, as well as energy efficient equipment and water saving features. Read more
WA submarine base to be wave-powered
By SBS (16 July 2012):
Australia’s largest naval facility and base of HMAS Stirling at Garden Island in Western Australia is to be powered by wave energy.
Western Australia’s Garden Island submarine base is to be powered by wave energy under a deal inked between the Australian Department of Defence and a Perth company.
Carnegie Wave Energy on Monday converted a memorandum of understanding signed three years ago with the Department of Defence into a binding agreement.
Under the deal, Australia’s largest naval facility and base of HMAS Stirling is to exclusively purchase all electricity generated by Carnegie’s CETO wave energy project at Fremantle.
“CETO is exactly the sort of technology we should be supporting,” Carnegie CEO Mike Ottaviano told a press conference.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended and said the project was the start of even bigger things to come.
“We should all be proud that this is Australian design, Australian ingenuity,” Ms Gillard said.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to support the development of this world-leading technology.”
The deal would mean HMAS Stirling would not produce 2.6 million kilograms of carbon pollution over five years, the prime minister said.
Solar until the cows come home!
By Kristine A. Wong for GreenBiz (13 July 2012):
With a solar facility on its fleet maintenance center, diesel trucks that have been converted to cold plate technology and the use of a freon-based cooling system instead of ammonia, San Francisco Bay Area dairy Clover Stornetta Farms is no stranger to sustainable business practices.
The Petaluma, Calif.-based business works with a few dozen family-owned local dairies to process between 60,000-75,000 gallons of milk a day.
While the company had made several strides in recent years towards sustainability in its dairy processing plant, it was still looking for ways to lower its water and electricity use, as well as lower its carbon emissions, according to Joanie Benedetti Claussen, whose grandfather Gene Benedetti formed Clover Stornetta in 1977.
In June, Clover Stornetta became the first dairy in the U.S. to generate electricity and hot water through a hybrid solar technology known as cogeneration. The system was designed and manufactured by 3-year-old Silicon Valley startup Cogenra Solar based in Mountain View, Calif.
It’s the latest company across a number of businesses and organizations — including Clover Stornetta’s peers in the beverage industry – to install a Cogenra solar cogeneration system. In April, the Kendall Jackson Winery in Napa, Calif., installed its array. In March, the Maui Brewing Company in Hawaii announced announced plans to get a Cogenra system in place. And the Sonoma Wine Company debuted its array in 2010.
The Department of Defense, international hotels, Facebook (which uses it for its employee gym) and universities also use a Cogenra solar cogeneration system.
“For the forseeable future, you’re going to waste a lot of solar energy,“ said Cogenra CEO Gilad Almogy in reference to today’s traditional photovoltaic system. A traditional state-of-the-art PV system can only harness 15 percent of the sun’s rays into useful AC electricity, Almogy said.
Solar cogeneration increases efficiency by generating both heat and electricity using photovoltaic and thermal heating technology in tandem. So instead of losing the majority of the energy to the atmosphere, it is channeled into heating water instead, according to Almogy.
The technology is beneficial to industries which need a steady source of hot water, Almogy said – as well as those in search of a sustainable cooling source. This made it a perfect match for Clover Stornetta.
“As a dairy processor, we use a lot of electricity and a lot of hot water,” Benedetti Claussen said. “What the solar cogeneration system allows us to do is either use the energy from the sun or hot water for our wastewater treatment facility, or use electricity to run our plant.”
According to Matt McConnell, vice president of operations at Clover Stornetta, the company plans to use the additional energy generated for their wastewater treatment operations.
The company is on track to reduce water usage this year by 10 percent, which translates to 3-4 million gallons of water. And the solar cogeneration system will also prevent the release of 32 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, McConnell added.
While the $100,000 system will take five years to pay back, Almogy said that his company’s systems have been tested to last for 25 years. Clover Stornetta also took advantage of federal and state tax incentives as well (in the form of a corporate tax break and a state tax rebate) which reduced the cost by approximately 25 percent, McConnell said.
One challenge Clover Stornetta addressed before greenlighting the installation was how to make room for the solar array and hot water tanks despite limited space.
“They came to us and said ‘Here’s our solution,’ and we went back to them and said ‘Here’s what works for us,’ and they really adjusted the solution to fit our project,” McConnell said. For example, Cogenra wanted the water tanks to be mounted on the ground, but Clover Stornetta ended up mounting them on its roof instead.
Clover Stornetta was able to jumpstart the process after meeting Gail Barnes of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Barnes, who works with dairies across the country on projects designed to meet the industry’s mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020, introduced the dairy to Cogenra.
“Clover is a three-generation, family-owned company which allows us to be nimble and advantage of a lot of things that larger companies can’t do,” Benedetti Claussen said.
Her company’s drive to innovate, Benedetti Claussen said, is not just based on the environment, but for customer expectations as well.
“We knew our consumers expected this of us,” she said. “So we have to continue to innovate, to be ahead of the game and to also keep our consumer base in our back corner.”
GreenBiz Associate Editor Kristine A. Wong is a multimedia journalist who became an editor and reporter after working for environmental and public health organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle for over 10 years. She has been a community and academic researcher, program director, advocate and trainer.
The cost of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles could fall by more than 70% by 2025, due to increased demand, leading to economy of scale, manufacturing improvements and rapid breakthroughs in expanding the life and power of the batteries. Cheaper batteries could lead to a higher adoption rate of electric vehicles. Meanwhile, National University of Singapore’s engineering faculty has signed an agreement with auto firm Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific, a unit of Japanese automotive giant Toyota Group, to test the cars on the Kent Ridge campus for a year. Read more
University signs deal with Toyota unit to try them out on campus
By Grace Chua in Straits Times (20 July 2012):
MINI electric vehicles have begun trundling around the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus.
The 10 single-seat vehicles, each a little more than half the length of a mid-sized sedan, join others being tested by agencies and private firms here.
The university’s engineering faculty yesterday signed an agreement with auto firm Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific, a unit of Japanese automotive giant Toyota Group, to test the cars on the Kent Ridge campus for a year.
For starters, about 30 NUS employees will drive them between University Town and the engineering faculty; later, up to 160 staff and students with valid driver’s licences will get to use them, also on campus.
Mr Yasuhiro Kakihara, Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific’s executive vice-president and the chief operating officer of its business unit here, said roping students in as users would yield a better understanding of how their generation responds to such modes of transport and help produce a sound business model.
During the study, researchers will look into the performance and cost-effectiveness of these vehicles in tropical weather, and how well users take to them.
The interest in electric vehicles here and worldwide is keen because they are powered by electricity or other clean fuel sources, and so emit less carbon dioxide and global-warming gases than vehicles running on fossil fuels.
Those on trial at the NUS campus go by the name Toyota Auto Body COMS – with COMS standing for the Japanese tagline Chotto Odekake Machimade Suisui, or ‘smooth, short rides into town’.
Each car weighs about 300kg and can run 35km to 45km on a single overnight charge. They can hit a top speed of 50kmh.
The NUS cars are Toyota’s first-generation vehicles, some 2,000 of which are already used commercially in Japan for deliveries and personal travel.
Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific did not reveal the cost of the NUS study, but each vehicle retails for 1 million yen ($15,990).
The second-generation vehicle, unveiled this month and available only in Japan, costs 700,000 yen.
Mr Kakihara is envisioning the day Toyota Tsusho owns and runs a fleet of these cars, shared by residents of a housing estate for short trips, such as from their home to a nearby mall.
NUS researchers also want to see whether these cars can be made to drive themselves. Professor Chua Kee Chaing of NUS’ electrical and computer engineering department said this would entail overcoming technical issues such as improving sensor technology, and non-technical issues such as liability and insurance.
Other electric cars are now being road-tested here in the Government’s $20 million, three-year trial; companies and agencies are using 37 such vehicles and 26 charging stations.
Electric-vehicle services firm smove has been testing electric bicycles around the Insead business school in Ayer Rajah since November; six electric cars will be added to the fleet of two-wheelers.
Mr Tom Lokenvitz, the director of Clean Mobility Singapore, which runs smove, said: ‘We have 15 bikes constantly running and 50 customers with a long wait list at Insead. It’s a valid alternative to a taxi or your own car if you want to make short trips.’
EV batteries’ cost may drop 70% by 2025: study
By Reuters (18 July 2012):
The cost of lithium-ion batteries used in electrified vehicles could tumble by more than 70 percent by 2025 as rising oil prices and stringent fuel economy standards push automakers to build more of these cars, according to a McKinsey & Co study released on Wednesday.
Manufacturing these batteries on a larger scale represents one-third of the potential price reduction by 2025, McKinsey said. The expected influx of companies in the sector and new technology borrowed from consumer electronics makers like Apple Inc would also help cut lithium-ion battery costs, the consultancy added.
“Cheaper batteries could enable the broader adoption of electrified vehicles, potentially disrupting the transportation, power and petroleum sectors,” McKinsey wrote.
McKinsey predicts the price of a complete lithium-ion battery pack could fall from between $500 and $600 per kilowatt hour now to about $200 in 2020 and to $160 by 2025.
If gasoline prices hover around $3.50 per gallon or higher, automakers that purchase batteries at $250 per kilowatt hour could offer electrified vehicles that can compete with cars and trucks powered by advanced internal-combustion engines, which are now significantly cheaper.
Battery costs represent one of the main hurdles to the widespread adoption of low-emission vehicles, analysts say. The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal to reduce the cost of a battery pack to $300 per kilowatt hour by 2014.
The 23-kilowatt-hour battery used in Focus Electric, Ford Motor Co’s first electric passenger car, can cost between $12,000 and $15,000, Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said at a conference in April. That suggests Ford paid as much as $652 per kilowatt hour.
Higher volumes are the biggest factor in falling battery prices, McKinsey consultants said. Prices could also drop if battery makers refine their manufacturing process and use standardized equipment, they said.
“Regulation around the world, not just in one region, is getting increasingly stringent,” McKinsey consultant Russell Hensley said in an interview.
Hensley, who helped write the study, said the new standards expected to be in effect by the mid-2020s are too strict for the internal combustion engine to meet.
“If you want to play in the automotive markets around the world, you actually need vehicles that are emitting less carbon,” Hensley said.
Battery costs will also fall as the consumer electronics industry, led by companies like Apple, keeps making rapid breakthroughs in expanding the life and power of lithium-ion batteries, according to the study.
Over time, those improvements will work their way into vehicles, said McKinsey consultant John Newman, who is also an author of the report. Batteries in the consumer electronics sector are available today for about $300 per kilowatt hour.
“It’s the consumer electronics industry as much as any other industry that’s driving the costs lower,” Newman said.