North American Exclusive! Eco-Friendly Steel Cuts Coal Use and Emissions

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe process of manufacturing environmentally friendly steel not only reduces coal use by one-third, it also salvages plastic waste from garbage dumps, cooking it at such intense temperatures that carbon emissions and energy consumption are cut dramatically. Developed in Australia, this breakthrough advancement of turning plastic waste into steel has now commenced commercial production at a Sydney steel plant. (Read more of this Good News Network North American exclusive…) Six years ago, Indian-born Professor Veena Sahajwalla was staring into a steel-making furnace in Indianapolis when suddenly something clicked. What if she tried mixing waste plastic with the coal at intense temperatures? Could she invent new ‘green steel’? The science behind the question was elegantly simple. In electric arc furnace steelmaking, coal or coke is needed to trigger carbon reactions at intense temperatures. But carbon reactions, she theorized, could just as easily be generated using plastic that would otherwise be building up in landfills. Steel can’t tell where the carbon comes from so the end product would be identical. Today, Professor Sahajwalla is the Director of Sustainable Materials Processing at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney and her green dream is about to become a commercial reality. Australian steelmaker Onesteel has just obtained a worldwide license, in conjunction with UNSW’s commercial arm, NewSouth Innovations (NSi), for the manufacturing of plastic-injected low-emissions steel. Onesteel’s Sydney plant has already commenced production. The new electric arc furnace process substitutes about 30 percent of coal and coke with polyethylene plastic waste; reducing pressure on garbage dumps. But, much more significant was the discovery that the plastic mix in creates a more efficient steelmaking process, promising to reduce emissions in one of the world’s dirtiest, but most essential, industrial processes. After years of laboratory testing, Professor Sahajwalla discovered that her initial hunch during a sabbatical year spent in the United States, ‘up close, hot and dirty’ with the steelmaking industry, was correct. Carbon derived from plastic can be used in steelmaking, thus reducing the amount of coal inside a furnace. But, the realization that the plastic waste ‘mix in’ was actually more efficient than conventional electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking — which runs off large amounts of electricity — was an added bonus. Annually, the world produces about 1.1 billion tons of steel, about 40 percent of that in EAFs. Cutting electricity demand for industrial steel production represents major environmental and cost savings. Social Benefits for Poor Societies Beyond the environmental benefits, Professor Sahajwalla is looking forward to a social spin-off close to her heart. Born and raised in Bombay, India, she learnt very early that poor societies cannot afford waste. Everything is reused and recycled in India’s slums and poor rural communities, she says. The idea that polyethylene plastic — found in everything from shopping bags, to plastic packaging and plastic pipes — will become a valuable raw material for steelmaking could lift the economic prospects of the wretchedly poor, who live off picking over the third world’s rubbish dumps. “The idea I find exciting is the possibility of up-cycling waste, giving it a higher value. In this process we have actually added value to waste. You have rubbish everywhere, this turns it into a whole new business venture.” From a scientific point of view, the fact that carbon reactions are more efficient when plastic is added to the process is a compelling mystery which Professor Sahajwalla’s UNSW teams are still trying to unravel. It seems the plastic aids the “slag foaming” process and may improve furnace efficiency by sitting on top of molten steel like an insulating blanket. “No one has looked at the uses of plastics at steelmaking temperatures of 1600 degrees C, and you can imagine the challenges of working with these temperatures in a lab are enormous. A lot of these reactions are being carried out for the first time,” she says. The Big Aim: To Turn Trash into a Science Her long-term goal is to develop ‘recycling science.’ “We have never really looked at waste with the respect it deserves. We shouldn’t look at rubbish as waste, but as just another resource and we need to develop the science to match.” However, she is optimistic the momentum for environmental change is now unstoppable. “The environmental tide has turned,” she says. In the meantime, Onesteel has the right to sub-license the technology to more than 300 EAF steelmakers around the world. Onesteel has been testing the commercial viability of the process for two years and found the process reduces energy consumption at a rate of 11.1 kilowatt hours per charge ton. Professor Sahajwalla’s own fascination for materials, and the industrial processes which produce them, began during her childhood in India. She was, she says, an “unusual girl” drawn to big machinery and furnaces. As an undergraduate in India, she was the only girl in her class, always bettering the grades of her male peers. As a post-graduate she went to Canada and the United States before being recruited by the CSIRO in Australia, and later by the University of New South Wales. (Louise Williams is Associate Director of University of New South Wales International) THANKS to Kay from Australia for submitting this story idea to the Good News Network! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Most Romantic Marriage Proposal by Man Named Casanova

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore“This may go down as the most romantic marriage proposal in years. Brad Casanova — yes, that’s his REAL last name — pulled off a proposal involving a 17-destination scavenger hunt, a nearly seven-hour ordeal that took three months of planning, in order to give the woman of his dreams a memory to last a lifetime.” (Asheville Citizen-Times) Thanks to Linnea L. for the submission! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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NJ Hospital Gives Palestinian Teen New Hope (Video)

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA Palestinian teenager who lost an eye during fighting between Israelis and Palestinians several years ago is receiving the gift of reconstructive surgery at a hospital in New Jersey. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Las Vegas School is Lifeline for Hungry Kids With Nothing

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorePrincipal Sherrie Gahn said she was shocked when she first came to Whitney Elementary School seven years ago. “The kids were eating ketchup packets,” trying to scrape a meal together. About 75 percent of her 622 students are homeless, or nearly so. Under Gahn’s leadership, Whitney Elementary has become a lifeline for families — at once a food bank, clothing drive, Christmas charity, dental clinic and hair salon all in one. After this moving story ran on CNN about the Las Vegas school over Thanksgiving — when famous Vegas chefs came to the school preparing lunch — donations have poured in, over $75,000 worth. “There are bread donations and shoe donations, and local physicians donate their time to give physicals and eye exams.” See how Principal Gahn cares for school children, and their families going beyond the typical model of education.last_img read more

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Some Say Bypassing a Higher Education is Smarter Than Paying for a Degree

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreIf you crunch the numbers, some experts say, college is a bad investment while there are cheaper and better ways to get an education: pursue a dream — travel, do something creative or start a business.(READ the story in the Washington Post)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Tunisians Forget Their Own Problems to Help Libyan Refugees (Video)

first_imgThe surprised group cheers onboard as a US Colonel gives a farewell speech in their native language.WATCH the inspiring Making A Difference story below, from MSNBC.com…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreHaving endured the tumult of their own revolution, Tunisians have traveled from far and wide to serve food and bring supplies to refugee camps along the Libyan border.Generosity and compassion, they say, are part of the spirit of their revolution.Even the US military is helping out, with a transport plane carrying hundreds of guest workers fleeing Libya back to their home countries.last_img read more

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Bee-harming Pesticides Banned in Europe

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreBees are vital — because of their pollination in the fields — to any nation’s food production and to Europe’s agricultural industry worth €22 billion annually.That’s why Europe has voted to enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on common insecticides linked to serious harm in bees. The landmark European commission vote on Monday led to a victory for millions of environment campaigners concerned about dramatic declines in bees and bolstered by experts at the European Food Safety Authority who advised the move.(READ the story in the Guardian)Photo by Sun StarAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Two Female VCs Launch Silicon Valley Firm To Show Diversity Equals Profit

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreAs two female venture capitalists, Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw are a rare breed in Silicon Valley. As a team, they launched a firm this month with their own fortunes, based on the fact that diversity will boost investment returns at the new Aspect Ventures.A number of research studies have shown that diversity isn’t just a socially important goal–it also makes financial sense. For example, one analysis of more than 20,000 venture-backed companies in the U.S. showed that successful startups had more women in top positions than failed startups. Another study showed that public companies with more women on the board have significantly better financial performance.(READ the story in Fast Co-Exist)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Minnesota Bans Anti-bacterial Agent in Soaps as Pressure on Industry Grows

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMinnesota this month became the first state in the country to ban the germ-killer triclosan from antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, body washes and other cosmetics.Taking effect in 2017, this ban is good news because, while triclosan hasn’t been proven to be hazardous to humans, studies and scientists have raised concerns that it can disrupt thyroid gland function and hormones critical for reproduction and development, at least in lab animals, and contribute to the development of resistant bacteria. There are environmental effects too, with the chemical being flushed down millions of Americans’ sinks. A University of Minnesota study last year found increasing levels of triclosan in lakes can break down into potentially harmful dioxins.Additionally, its use is unnecessary since using plain soap and water is no less effective in preventing disease.Already some manufacturers have advertised triclosan-free products or voluntarily eliminated the chemical as an ingredient. Procter & Gamble cited consumer preference in 2013 as the reason it will cut triclosan. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson did the same, first with baby products, then, in it’s adult line too.(READ the AP story from the Minn. Star-Tribune)RELATED: Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble to Phase-out Hazardous ChemicalsRELATED: For Your Health: Use Hand Sanitizers Without TriclosanAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Otter Goes Belly-sliding After Fresh Snowfall in Minnesota

first_imgThis otter doesn’t need a sled like you and me to speed down the slopes.The Minnesota Zoo posted a video of their resident otter taking a belly-run down a hill after a blanket of snow fell.“Follow our river otter’s advice…when life gives you snow, go sledding!” said the video caption “Our animals are loving all this fresh powder!”The Facebook video has received almost 125,000 hits since published on February 3rd.SHARE the Fun…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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