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100% sustainable jet fuel from plant waste – Ya Libnan


Yuriy Román-Leshkov

Professor Yuriy Román-Leshkov and collaborators have demonstrated a new way to produce a critical component of aviation fuel from lignin, a plant material that’s generally discarded as waste during biomass processing.
Credit: Gretchen Ertl

MIT researchers are converting the plant material lignin into hydrocarbon molecules that could help make jet fuel 100 percent sustainable.

An MIT research team is working on converting lignin, a plant waste product, into 100% sustainable aviation fuel using a novel catalyst. This breakthrough could revolutionize the aviation industry by providing a renewable fuel alternative.

Nearly a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2021 came from the transportation sector, with aviation being a significant contributor. While the growing use of electric vehicles is helping to clean up ground transportation, today’s batteries can’t compete with fossil fuel-derived liquid hydrocarbons in terms of energy delivered per pound of weight — a major concern when it comes to flying. Meanwhile, based on projected growth in travel demand, consumption of jet fuel is projected to double between now and 2050 — the year by which the international aviation industry has pledged to be carbon neutral.

Many groups have targeted a 100 percent sustainable hydrocarbon fuel for aircraft, but so far there hasn’t been much success. Part of the challenge is that aviation fuels are so tightly regulated. “This is a subclass of fuels that has very specific requirements in terms of the chemistry and the physical properties of the fuel, because you can’t risk something going wrong in an airplane engine,” says Yuriy Román-Leshkov, the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering. “If you’re flying at 30,000 feet, it’s very cold outside, and you don’t want the fuel to thicken or freeze. That’s why the formulation is very specific.”

The Composition of Aviation Fuel

Aviation fuel is a combination of two large classes of chemical compounds. Some 75 to 90 percent of it is made up of “aliphatic” molecules, which consist of long chains of carbon atoms linked together. “This is similar to what we would find in diesel fuels, so it’s a classic hydrocarbon that is out there,” explains Román-Leshkov. The remaining 10 to 25 percent consists of “aromatic” molecules, each of which includes at least one ring made up of six connected carbon atoms.

In most transportation fuels, aromatic hydrocarbons are viewed as a source of pollution, so they’re removed as much as possible. However, in aviation fuels, some aromatic molecules must remain because they set the necessary physical and combustion properties of the overall mixture. They also perform one more critical task: They ensure that seals between various components in the aircraft’s fuel system are tight. “The aromatics get absorbed by the plastic seals and make them swell,” explains Román-Leshkov. “If for some reason the fuel changes, so can the seals, and that’s very dangerous.”

As a result, aromatics are a necessary component — but they’re also a stumbling block in the move to create sustainable aviation fuels, or SAFs. Companies know how to make the aliphatic fraction from inedible parts of plants and other renewables, but they haven’t yet developed an approved method of generating the aromatic fraction from sustainable sources. As a result, there’s a “blending wall,” explains Román-Leshkov. “Since we need that aromatic content — regardless of its source — there will always be a limit on how much of the sustainable aliphatic hydrocarbons we can use without changing the properties of the mixture.” He notes a similar blending wall with gasoline. “We have a lot of ethanol, but we can’t add more than 10 percent without changing the properties of the gasoline. In fact, current engines can’t handle even 15 percent ethanol without modification.”

No Shortage of Renewable Source Material — Or Attempts To Convert It

For the past five years, understanding and solving the SAF problem has been the goal of research by Román-Leshkov and his MIT team — Michael L. Stone PhD ’21, Matthew S. Webber, and others — as well as their collaborators at Washington State University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Their work has focused on lignin, a tough material that gives plants structural support and protection against microbes and fungi. About 30 percent of the carbon in biomass is in lignin, yet when ethanol is generated from biomass, the lignin is left behind as a waste product.

Despite valiant efforts, no one has found an economically viable, scalable way to turn lignin into useful products, including the aromatic molecules needed to make jet fuel 100 percent sustainable. Why not? As Román-Leshkov says, “It’s because of its chemical recalcitrance.” It’s difficult to make it chemically react in useful ways. As a result, every year millions of tons of waste lignin are burned as a low-grade fuel, used as fertilizer, or simply thrown away.

Understanding the problem requires understanding what’s happening at the atomic level. A single lignin molecule — the starting point of the challenge — is a big “macromolecule” made up of a network of many aromatic rings connected by oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Put simply, the key to converting lignin into the aromatic fraction of SAF is to break that macromolecule into smaller pieces while in the process getting rid of all of the oxygen atoms.

In general, most industrial processes begin with a chemical reaction that prevents the subsequent upgrading of lignin: As the lignin is extracted from the biomass, the aromatic molecules in it react with one another, linking together to form strong networks that won’t react further. As a result, the lignin is no longer useful for making aviation fuels.

 that outcome, Román-Leshkov and his team utilize another approach: They use a catalyst to induce a chemical reaction that wouldn’t normally occur during extraction. By reacting the biomass in the presence of a ruthenium-based catalyst, they are able to remove the lignin from the biomass and produce a black liquid called lignin oil. That product is chemically stable, meaning that the aromatic molecules in it will no longer react with one another.

So the researchers have now successfully broken the original lignin macromolecule into fragments that contain just one or two aromatic rings each. However, while the isolated fragments don’t chemically react, they still contain oxygen atoms. Therefore, one task remains: finding a way to remove the oxygen atoms.

In fact, says Román-Leshkov, getting from the molecules in the lignin oil to the targeted aromatic molecules required them to accomplish three things in a single step: They needed to selectively break the carbon-oxygen bonds to free the oxygen atoms; they needed to avoid incorporating noncarbon atoms into the aromatic rings (for example, atoms from the hydrogen gas that must be present for all of the chemical transformations to occur); and they needed to preserve the carbon backbone of the molecule — that is, the series of linked carbon atoms that connect the aromatic rings that remain.

Ultimately, Román-Leshkov and his team found a special ingredient that would do the trick: a molybdenum carbide catalyst. “It’s actually a really amazing catalyst because it can perform those three actions very well,” says Román-Leshkov. “In addition to that, it’s extremely resistant to poisons. Plants can contain a lot of components like proteins, salts, and sulfur, which often poison catalysts so they don’t work anymore. But molybdenum carbide is very robust and isn’t strongly influenced by such impurities.”

Trying It Out on Lignin From Poplar Trees

To test their approach in the lab, the researchers first designed and built a specialized “trickle-bed” reactor, a type of chemical reactor in which both liquids and gases flow downward through a packed bed of catalyst particles. They then obtained biomass from a poplar, a type of tree known as an “energy crop” because it grows quickly and doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer.

To begin, they reacted the poplar biomass in the presence of their ruthenium-based catalyst to extract the lignin and produce the lignin oil. They then flowed the oil through their trickle-bed reactor containing the molybdenum carbide catalyst. The mixture that formed contained some of the targeted product but also a lot of others that still contained oxygen atoms.

Román-Leshkov notes that in a trickle-bed reactor, the time during which the lignin oil is exposed to the catalyst depends entirely on how quickly it drips down through the packed bed. To increase the exposure time, they tried passing the oil through the same catalyst twice. However, the distribution of products that formed in the second pass wasn’t as they had predicted based on the outcome of the first pass.

rying It Out on Lignin From Poplar Trees

To test their approach in the lab, the researchers first designed and built a specialized “trickle-bed” reactor, a type of chemical reactor in which both liquids and gases flow downward through a packed bed of catalyst particles. They then obtained biomass from poplar, a type of tree known as an “energy crop” because it grows quickly and doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer.

To begin, they reacted to the poplar biomass in the presence of their ruthenium-based catalyst to extract the lignin and produce the lignin oil. They then flowed the oil through their trickle-bed reactor containing the molybdenum carbide catalyst. The mixture that formed contained some of the targeted product but also a lot of others that still contained oxygen atoms.

Román-Leshkov notes that in a trickle-bed reactor, the time during which the lignin oil is exposed to the catalyst depends entirely on how quickly it drips down through the packed bed. To increase the exposure time, they tried passing the oil through the same catalyst twice. However, the distribution of products that formed in the second pass wasn’t as they had predicted based on the outcome of the first pass.

“When we do our chemistry with the molybdenum carbide catalyst, our total carbon yields are nearly 85 percent of the theoretical carbon yield,” says Román-Leshkov. “In most lignin-conversion processes, the carbon yields are very low, on the order of 10 percent. That’s why the catalysis community got very excited about our results — because people had not seen carbon yields as high as the ones we generated with this catalyst.”

There remains one key question: Does the mixture of components that forms have the properties required for aviation fuel? “When we work with these new substrates to make new fuels, the blend that we create is different from standard jet fuel,” says Román-Leshkov. “Unless it has the exact properties required, it will not qualify for certification as jet fuel.”

To check their products, Román-Leshkov and his team send samples to Washington State University, where a team operates a combustion lab devoted to testing fuels. Results from initial testing of the composition and properties of the samples have been encouraging. Based on the composition and published prescreening tools and procedures, the researchers have made initial property predictions for their samples, and they looked good. For example, the freezing point, viscosity, and threshold sooting index are predicted to be lower than the values for conventional aviation aromatics. (In other words, their material should flow more easily and be less likely to freeze than conventional aromatics while also generating less soot in the atmosphere when they burn.) Overall, the predicted properties are near to or more favorable than those of conventional fuel aromatics.

Next Steps and Potential Impact

The researchers are continuing to study how their sample blends behave at different temperatures and, in particular, how well they perform that key task: soaking into and swelling the seals inside jet engines. “These molecules are not the typical aromatic molecules that you use in jet fuel,” says Román-Leshkov. “Preliminary tests with sample seals show that there’s no difference in how our lignin-derived aromatics swell the seals, but we need to confirm that. There’s no room for error.”

In addition, he and his team are working with their NREL collaborators to scale up their methods. NREL has much larger reactors and other infrastructure needed to produce large quantities of the new sustainable blend. Based on the promising results thus far, the team wants to be prepared for the further testing required for the certification of jet fuels. In addition to testing samples of the fuel, the full certification procedure calls for demonstrating its behavior in an operating engine — “not while flying, but in a lab,” clarifies Román-Leshkov. In addition to requiring large samples, that demonstration is both time-consuming and expensive — which is why it’s the very last step in the strict testing required for a new sustainable aviation fuel to be approved.

Román-Leshkov and his colleagues are now exploring the use of their approach with other types of biomass, including pine, switchgrass, and corn stover (the leaves, stalks, and cobs left after corn is harvested). However, their results with poplar biomass are promising. If further testing confirms that their aromatic products can replace the aromatics now in jet fuel, “the blending wall could disappear,” says Román-Leshkov. “We’ll have a means of producing all the components in aviation fuel from renewable material, potentially leading to aircraft fuel that’s 100 percent sustainable.”

Reference: “Continuous hydrodeoxygenation of lignin to jet-range aromatic hydrocarbons” by Michael L. Stone, Matthew S. Webber, William P. Mounfield III, David C. Bell, Earl Christensen, Ana R.C. Morais, Yanding Li, Eric M. Anderson, Joshua S. Heyne, Gregg T. Beckham and Yuriy Román-Leshkov, 22 September 2022, Joule.
DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2022.08.005



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Sime Property partners TNB for sustainable energy initiativ…


KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Property Bhd has entered into a strategic partnership with Tenanga Nasional Bhd for the exploration and development of sustainable energy initiatives.

In a statement, the property developer said both parties will explore potential joint venture partnerships to integrate rooftop solar solutions in the Group’s townships and developments.

It said the residential solar pilot project includes the leasing of rooftop spaces or implementation of rooftop solar solutions on up to 1,000 existing and future properties in the City of Elmina or other potential townships.

Additionally, Sime Darby Property and TNB will seek to explore the implementation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure within townships and/or developments by the Group.

Both strategic partners will also look into microgrid solutions in townships, managed industrial parks and landbanks within Sime Darby Property.

“This partnership reflects our strategy to develop a sustainable and commercially viable portfolio that will enable us to lead the domestic real estate industry’s transition to renewable energy.

“It also signifies our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and playing our role in the nation’s green agenda,” said Sime Darby Property group managing director Datuk Azmir Merican.


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African leaders take bold stand for sustainable development…


A recurring theme in speeches delivered by the Presidents of Seychelles, Namibia, Ghana, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia was the urgent need to rebuild trust and rekindle global solidarity in the face of complex changes.

They expressed unwavering support for the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasizing that the current trajectory falls short of ambitions, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their addresses, leaders also highlighted the need for reform of the Security Council to make that 15-member body more representative and effective.

Accelerate joint efforts

President Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles emphasized that the international community must accelerate joint efforts to make transformative advancements on the SDGs.

“We must prioritize SDG implementation at all levels,” he said, noting the need to align national policies and strategies with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, while strengthening partnerships with all stakeholders.

He called on development partners to deliver on their Addis Ababa Action Agenda promises on development finance and on international financial institutions to “embrace reform” and ensure that the unique needs of vulnerable countries are considered in access to development financing.

Reiterated that addressing the climate crisis “is no longer optional – it is an immediate necessity,” President Ramkalawan expressed Seychelles’ commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Transition to green energy

In his address, President Hage G. Geingob of Namibia highlighted his country’s efforts in transitioning to green energy, emphasizing its green hydrogen projects and their potential to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.

He noted Namibia’s plans to develop green shipping corridors in partnership with other key stakeholders, aiming to create carbon-neutral maritime value chains for clean fuel and products.

President Geingob also noted the impacts of COVID-19 and its lingering aftermath, that pushed many across the world into extreme poverty, as well as worsening inequalities.

“The terrifying gap between the wealthy and the marginalized is not just a moral concern, but also a threat to global stability and harmony,” he said. urging efforts from all countries to create an environment where prosperity is shared and is inclusive.

Things are not right

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, said that the theme of the General Assembly session, rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity, “is an acknowledgement that things are not what they ought to be in our world.”

“The mutual trust among nations that is required to ensure harmony has considerably diminished,” he said.

The Ghanaian President highlighted that his country firmly believes that the United Nations is the best means for the world community to address the multifaceted challenges they face.

But the Organization can only function effectively and deliver on expectations, when its fundamental pillars are reformed, “anything short of that will continue to undermine its credibility,” he said.

Institutions need reform

President João Lourenço of Angola also highlighted the need for the United Nations to strengthen its role and its capacities to formulate the most appropriate responses and thus be able to face the many challenges.

“It is essential that we do everything in our power to continuously promote respect for and observance of the values set out in the UN Charter and international law, so that we can correct the dangerous trajectory that the world took after the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he said.

President Lourenço noted that developing countries lack sufficient representation in institutions of world governance and therefore are unable to contribute to formulation of realistic solutions to their problems.

“This situation generates anxiety and frustration among the most vulnerable populations who, by not having their expectations met, become easily permeable to negative influences that are dangerous to the order and stability of their respective countries,” he said.

Commitment to democratic governance

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone highlighted his country’s commitment to democratic governance and human rights, as well as the primacy of regional peace, particularly within the context of the West African subregion.

“Sierra Leone raises its voice alongside our ECOWAS community, expressing unequivocal dissent towards any extra-constitutional changes of Government,” he declared, noting that such actions imperil not only individual nations but also the “cohesive fabric of the broader African identity.”

The President’s message for cooperation and collaboration went beyond regional borders, calling for rebuilding trust and solidarity on the global stage.

Quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “there comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We must go upstream and find out why they’re falling in,” President Bio urged world leaders to address the root causes of today’s problems.

“Our duty is clear: We must lift our people from poverty,” he said.

Unity, resilience and ambition

George Manneh Weah, the President of Liberia, highlighted the multitude of challenges the world currently faces, including security, economic, social, political, and environmental issues.

He emphasized the need for collective efforts to address the challenges and realize the 2030 Agenda and urged bilateral and multilateral collaborations.

Since his first address to the General Assembly, five years ago, when he informed the Assembly of the peaceful democratic transition in his country, “with your support and that of our friends, we have kept the democratic torch burning”, President Weah said.

“Liberia’s journey is best captured in the spirit of unity, resilience, and ambition,” he added, urging the international community that together, through collaboration and shared purpose, “we can, and must shape a world that upholds the rights and dignity of every individual.”


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How To Create Sustainable Improvements


with Jean Filion

From supply chain issues to workers quitting and economic fluctuations, companies today face plenty of uncertainty. Rising prices from inflation and the increasing acceleration of new technologies further signal the need to adapt. For organizations in nearly every industry, it will become even more important to maximize resources to remain competitive.

There’s just one problem. Change is hard. Look no further than weight-loss attempts to see how difficult it can be to get lasting results. Research suggests that 80% of individuals who lose a significant portion of their body fat will not maintain that degree for 12 months. Most will regain as they shift back into familiar behaviors and pre-diet lifestyles.

The same often plays out in the business world. While it’s easy to find examples of improvement methodologies and theories, it’s much harder to shift operating performance. Studies commonly suggest that 70% of transformation efforts fail. Technology integrations might not improve the quality of information. Process reengineering may not boost productivity. Management training programs often fail to change management behavior.

Adopting a New Mindset

At the root of these disappointing outcomes lies the approach. Change generally requires a new mindset to make it sustainable. A person who wants to lose weight and keep it off will typically need to adjust their daily habits. For companies, leaders and managers must change their way of thinking to carry out and maintain large scale improvements.

Addressing the Right Components

To achieve lasting results from an improvement initiative, leaders and managers need to account for three essential elements: process, performance, and people. A process consists of two or more value-added steps in which material or information is passed to create a finished product or service. Performance involves the system that provides management with information, with the objective of aligning financial and operating indicators and all levels of management. The component of people refers primarily to the effectiveness of the time that managers spend planning, communicating, following up, and problem-solving.

CEO of Nellson LLC, a leading full-service nutritional bar and powder provider, Jean Filion, offers leadership perspectives on change management.

“Change requires Change” is such a simple sentence but without change, there can be no gains.

Sustainability has always been a concern for me. Why deploy resources, effort and time if the gain is unsustainable? The three-pronged approach is extremely relevant, and these elements are often not at the same level of maturity so “planning” the change is vital for sustainability. Process and performance are key. Changing people’s behavior is challenging to say the least. Supervisors and managers often lack knowledge on how best to manage people. The good news is, they can learn, but not solely from training.

The first step is understanding how and what they manage during the day. Not surprisingly, most will weigh the time spent on various management tasks totally differently than what they truly do. The main gap is often in “active” management, for active management is far too often misunderstood, yet it is the key to linking Process and Performance together by using one of the most vital resources of companies – People. Employees who engage with their supervisors and managers daily feel appreciated and valued for the work they perform and are more prone to wanting to exceed expectations.

Acting on all three fronts, engaging employees through active supervision and incentivizing leaders for the new way of working leads to sustainable improvement. Change takes time, however. If one is serious about game-changing change, best settle in for 6 months of working differently so the change becomes… the new way of working.

Dynamic Management is Needed

The three components of process, performance, and people are interdependent. If you make modifications to one area, you need to modify the other two as well. They all need to work together to realize sustainable improvements.

When change initiatives fail, it’s often because the focus is on one of the three components.

A new process might be implemented, but underlying systems and behaviors are no longer suited. A software program might provide better technology but doesn’t improve the underlying process involved. Managers could learn a new technique but not have the environment where they can put it into action. All these breakdowns stem from addressing one component and not the others.

Despite the changes occurring in today’s hyper-competitive markets, the one constant is a need to continuously improve. Higher levels of productivity help an organization realize and maintain a competitive edge. Better processes streamline workflows and well-trained managers are vital to creating a high-performance organization. Employees who believe they are contributing and can see the results are more motivated and more productive.

Nearly any business operation, when examined with the right tools and mindset, can be improved. It all begins with recognizing that change requires change. A new approach that holistically accounts for process, performance, and people can lead to positive, lasting outcomes.


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GGGI, UNDP spark momentum for green investments, sustainabl…


By Chimezie Godfrey

Global leaders and influential figures converged on the margins of the 78th United Nations General Assembly to address the pressing climate crisis and call for an urgent increase in green investments.

The high-level event “Scaling Up Green Investments To Address Climate Change”, hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), mobilized financial commitments for green and sustainable projects and showcased public private partnerships, innovative approaches, knowledge exchange and policy changes that can incentivize green investments.

“Africa is rich in green resources that can power accelerated sustainable development. This event is critical to foster Green investments in innovations and climate-smart projects in Africa, which are key to spark deep transformations and a better future for all in Africa and beyond” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Bureau for Africa Director.

The high level panel united institutional leaders, private sector entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and experts to boost joint actions towards climate-smart agriculture and better food systems in Africa. “Ensuring funding availability through the insurance market is crucial,” said Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, the United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Director General of the African Risk Capacity Group”, who also pointed out the main challenge that lies in the Triple A of insurance: affordability, availability, and accessibility of premium financing. Disaster management is often not integrated into the public policies of many African governments. It is imperative that we prioritize a culture of contingency planning within climate resilience investments to enable African governments to proactively anticipate and respond effectively.”

Speakers from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the Institutional Investor Network (IIN) underscored the importance of fostering coordinated dialogues among a broad spectrum of stakeholders, all striving for a collaborative response to the climate crisis.

“As the Global Stocktake concluded, the solutions to address the Climate Crisis are here – but their implementation needs to be scaled up massively, urgently. That requires scaling up green investment in a just energy transition as well as low-carbon economic development,” Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of GGGI said. “Smart financial solutions, from blended finance, leveraging climate finance with public private partnerships, debt for nature and climate swaps, green, sustainable, blue or resilience bonds – together we can scale up green investments to address the climate crisis and create green jobs for vulnerable populations, particularly women and youth,” Dr. Rijsberman added.

This high-level UNGA 78 side event was co-organized by GGGI, UNDP, the World Bank, AfriCatalyst and the Institutional Investor Network.


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Hydro celebrates sustainable partnerships at London Design …


Promotion: aluminium and renewable energy company Hydro is exhibiting its collaboration with designer Lars Beller Fjetland at the London Design Festival, exploring how partnerships can help make the metals industry more sustainable.

Earlier this year Hydro and Fjetland partnered to launch Bello! bench, a piece of outdoor seating made from extruded aluminium with 90 per cent recycled content.

Hydro is now exhibiting the bench at Material Matters at Oxo Tower, in a display that aims to communicate how the project advances the company’s ambition to decarbonise society.

Photo of a green Bello! bench by Hydro and Lars Beller Fjetland camouflaged within a dense field of clover
The Bello! bench is the latest designer collaboration from Hydro

“Material and manufacturing literacy are key to creating truly sustainable products”, says Hydro’s marketing director, Asle Forsbak, noting an estimate that 80 per cent of a product’s environmental footprint is determined in the design phase.

The company aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and push the whole industry towards those goals as well.

This approach has guided the company into partnerships with designers and producers including Tom Dixon, Polestar, Porsche and Cake as it seeks to share knowledge about how to design with aluminium.

Bello! bench by Hydro and Lars Beller Fjetland
The collaboration explores how partnerships can help make the metals industry more sustainable

“As a designer the choices you make at the drawing board decide if the product can be taken apart and recycled again and again, which is why understanding material properties and manufacturing processes is key,” said Forsbak.

According to Forsbak, a deep understanding of engineering, material science and the realities of production all shaped the Bello! bench.

It is made from 90 per cent recycled aluminium, most of which is end-consumer scrap and can be recycled in its entirety.

Photo of a green extruded metal bench sitting within a forest of dence foliage
The bench is made from extruded aluminium with 90 per cent recycled content

Fjetland based his design on penne rigate pasta, luxuriating in the ridged surface texture that could be created through extrusion.

As part of the exhibition, Fjetland is releasing Bello! in a new colour, a “striking, naturalesque green”, and says the design is “a practical example of how we are stronger when we work together”.

“At face value, Hydro might seem like an unlikely exhibitor at the London Design Festival,” said Forsbak. “But with the Bello! bench, we want to demonstrate how the industry and designers can work together to produce a practical and pretty product that can be mass produced, and also meet the society’s growing sustainability demands.”

Close-up photo of the side profile of the Bello! aluminium outdoor bench by Hydro in a green colour, sat within a dense bright green forest
The collaboration advances Hydro’s sustainability goals, according to the company

“At one hand, industrial mass production comes with a slew of challenges regarding environmental sustainability,” said Forsbak. “On the other hand, there needs to be a market pull for companies to produce sustainably.”

Forsbak explains that for “real, impactful change” it is necessary to have an amalgamation of perspectives, expertise and industries when designing products.

“The sustainability challenge of mass production isn’t solved in a vacuum; We need to work closely with our partners to help decarbonise society,” he said. “That is why collaboration is key.”

The Bello! bench can be seen at Hydro’s display at the Material Matters exhibition. The company’s stand will be made from reused structural components from past exhibitions.

To learn more about aluminium and design, visit Hydro’s aluminium knowledge hub, Shapes.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Hydro as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.


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Citizens Announces $50B Sustainable Finance Target


green investment

Banking / Financial

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. has announced a $50 billion Sustainable Finance Target including $5 billion in green financing, by 2030. The financial institution will also engage corporate clients in high-emitting sectors on climate-related topics. To start, Citizens will engage 100% of its oil and gas clients by the end of 2024. In addition, it has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.

“Our approach to sustainability is grounded in the Citizens Credo, uniting our values and purpose while creating opportunity to use our reach, innovation, and insights to position those we serve for long-term success,” said Bruce Van Saun, Citizens chairman and CEO. “This includes working to ensure that our colleagues are ready to help our clients prepare for and finance their own transitions to a lower-carbon economy.”

Citizens’ Target will finance and facilitate environmental and social initiatives. This includes affordable housing, support for small businesses, and community development projects. It also encompasses $5 billion in financing and facilitation for green initiatives that support a lower-carbon future such as renewable energy, clean technologies, and green buildings. Citizens recently published its Approach to Sustainable Finance which outlines its methodology for tracking progress against its Sustainable Finance Target.

As a trusted advisor for its clients, Citizens is committed to supporting clients wherever they are on their sustainability journeys and will ensure that 100% of its Commercial and Business Banking colleagues are prepared to engage with clients on climate-related topics. This will help them leverage the opportunities, meet stakeholder expectations, and manage risk.

The bank’s culture of innovation is driving new solutions toward sustainability-linked products for clients. For example, the Citizens’ Sustainable Deposits and Carbon Offset Deposit Account products allow clients to incorporate their sustainability goals into their banking strategies.

Citizens, which recently accelerated its private banking strategy driving growth in the wealth management space, will also continue to ensure colleagues are versed in ESG-integrated, ESG-focused, and impact-focused investment products.

“In developing this commitment, we took a methodical, customer and client-centered approach, that includes detailed disclosures and reporting to ensure overall success,” said Beth Johnson, Citizens Vice Chair, Chief Experience Officer, and Head of ESG. “Through our efforts we will continue to maximize impact for our colleagues, clients, customers, and other stakeholders.”

Citizens continues to make progress on its operational sustainability efforts and today, announces its intention to be carbon neutral by 2035. Citizens set Scope 1 and 2 emissions targets in 2021 that will be achieved through ongoing energy conservation investments and energy reduction initiatives across the company’s footprint. By 2035, Citizens is targeting to offset the remaining Scope 1 and 2 emissions through high-quality offsets and renewable energy credits. Last year, Citizens entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with Ørsted that supports the construction of a wind generation facility in Kansas, demonstrating Citizens’ commitment to renewable energy as a key part of its transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Citizens is committed to providing disclosures related to its progress, and recently released its ESG Report, TCFD Report, CDP Climate Response and an Environmental & Social Risk Management Statement.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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New Sustainable Feedstock | Grainnet


Nuseed Carinata, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nufarm Limited, has been introduced and harvested by growers in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The new cover crop is designed to increase the sustainable contract production of a non-food oilseed that can be processed like an oilseed into a certified and sustainable lower-carbon bioenergy feedstock and as a source of non-genetically modified meal for a traceable plant-based source of protein.

Nuseed says one of the main uses for its U.S. carinata production will be as a lower-carbon feedstock for biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). North American marketing leader Roger Rotariu tells Processing Journal that Nuseed Carinata has been proven as a viable and valuable drop-in feedstock for biofuel producers, making it easily integrated for processing by existing bioenergy plants in the United States.

The company is also expanding commercial sales of Carinata in South America, where it is currently being commercially grown in Argentina between main crops on existing farmland. The crop is then processed into oil in Europe. Initial research and market development programs are also underway in Europe and Australia.

As a resilient hybrid cover crop, Rotariu explains, Nuseed Carinata grows well between many primary crop rotations such as cotton, corn, and soybeans. It can be grown between harvest and planting of main U.S. crops when cold weather limits primary crop production and farmland is typically exposed to erosion.

Nuseed Carinata does not require additional farmland, he adds, and the crop financially rewards sustainable farming practices that help maximize greenhouse gas reduction. Research and development work is continuing to advance Nuseed Carinata hybrids with a focus on even greater frost resilience, shorter maturity, and herbicide tolerance, he says.

Three Differences

According to Rotariu, Nuseed Carinata is different than other biofuel feedstocks in three main ways:

  • It is inedible, not for human consumption, and is grown between primary crop rotations on existing farmland between main food crop harvests and the next season’s planting. Another plus is that its co-product is a source of traceable plant protein.
  • It can be independently certified as a sustainable crop and traced from the field to the oil processor. Because the production-to-processing chain is independently audited and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, growers can be rewarded for adopting certified sustainable farming practices.
  • It can capture and sequester carbon dioxide as it grows above ground and sequesters carbon through its leaves and extensive root system to regenerate soil health. It also can be used as a sustainable, lower- carbon feedstock for fuels that reduce carbon emissions by replacing petroleum-derived fuels.

Sustainability Growing

The need for sustainably grown and processed fuel sources is expected to grow because of government policies aimed at limiting carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and as more companies and industries commit to carbon reduction targets. In 2021, the International Air Trans-port Association adopted a resolution, “Net Zero Carbon by 2050,” calling for the increased use of SAF from 2% in 2025 to 65% in 2050.

Nuseed Carinata is already recognized as an SAF feedstock that can help the aviation industry decarbon ize, Rotariu notes, and the crop has the added benefit of being sustainably produced.

Nuseed Carinata is already recognized as an SAF feedstock that can help the aviation industry decarbonize, Rotariu notes, and the crop has the added benefit of being sustainably produced.


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