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Sustainability, Science, Innovation
Hannah Herbst, 15, from Boca Raton, Florida, might just be one of North America’s top young scientists. She won first place in the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientists Challenge along with a $25,000 prize – for creating an energy prototype probe that converts ocean currents into energy for just $12 – placing first out of nine other finalists. Herbst’s probe is made up of low-cost recycle materials creating a hydroelectric generator with a propeller – able to power a small LED light system. “I really want to end the energy poverty crisis and really help the other methods of renewable energy collection to generate more power and to make our world a better place for everyone,” Herbst says. She made the probe seeking to create a stable power source to developing countries by using ocean currents. It was inspired by Herbst’s desire to help her 9-year-old pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacks a reliable energy source. Marine current power is not widely used at the moment, but it has potential for electricity generation in the future. Marine currents are more predicable that solar and wind power. A 2006 report by the United States Department of the Interior estimated that capturing that 1/1000th of the available energy in the Gulf Stream would supply Florida with 35% of its electrical needs.
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Sustainability, Environment
India’s Cochin International Airport has become the first in the world to be powered solely on solar energy. Creating the “absolutely power neutral” airport will be 40,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres – producing 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day to be used for all its operational functions. The green initiative will avoid carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years, having an impact equivalent of planning three million trees. “When we had realized that the power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated possibilities. Then the idea of tapping the green power came in,” says V.J. Kurian, Managing Director of Cochin International Airport in a press release. The airport started using solar panels back in 2013 when it installed them on the Arrival Terminal block. The project expanded and eventually plans were agreed for the giant solar patch to be created. “We consume around 48,000 unit (KWh) a day,” Kurian explains. “So if we can produce the same, that too by strictly adhering to the green and sustainable development model of infrastructure development that we always follow, that would transcend a message to the world. Now this has become the world’s first airport fully operates on solar power.”
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Sustainability
UBC achieved a score in the top 10 universities rated under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System – a self-reporting system developed by the AASHE. Among universities with over 30,000 students, UBC came in second place. This is the second consecutive Gold rating UBC has received from the ASSHE. “This recognition is further proof of our commitment to leadership in global sustainability through groundbreaking research, education and innovative projects on campus,” said Martha Piper, interim president of UBC in a statement. UBC launched Canada’s first sustainability office in 1997 and has received the maximum “innovation credits” for its initiatives, which include: a 20-year sustainability strategy, behavioural research in support of creating a zero-waste campus, UBC Farm’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, and energy system upgrades to reduce UBC’s thermal energy use and GHG emissions. Image: UBC Public Affairs “STARS provides a robust platform to measure our sustainability progress over time, assess gaps and opportunities to improve sustainability performance, and receive external recognition for sustainability efforts across campus,” said Associate Vice-President of Campus and Community Planning in a statement, Michael White. UBC also offers over 600 sustainability related courses and over 40 sustainability-related programs. The university remains on track to reach the green house gas emission reduction targets established in 2010 with the Vancouver Campus Climate Action Plan – planning to reduce emissions 33 per cent by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2050.
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