Category Archives: Natural environment

Biggest Volcano Eruption Ever Caught on Tape from Space

The aftermath of the Jan 15, 2022, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption. The ash cloud surrounding the volcano could dwarf the biggest man-made nuclear explosion, and more than 200,000 lightning flashes were detected in the plume.

What is the biggest volcanic explosion ever recorded?

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A major volcanic eruption filmed from space

The nearby islands around Tonga have been blanketed by ash, and it now looks like a grey moonscape. Residents were told to stay indoors while the ash was falling, and the ash contaminated freshwater supplies.

Jan 15, 2022, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruption

On December 20, 2021, Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai, a submarine volcano in the Tonga Islands, began erupting and reached its climax nearly four weeks later.

The Henga-Tonga-Hapai volcano erupted on December 20, 2021, sending particulate matter into the stratosphere. Large amounts of ash were visible from Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa.

Residents of Samoa, Fiji, Niue, Vanuatu, and New Zealand heard the eruption, and roars were heard as far away as Alaska.

Volcanic explosions cause atmospheric shock waves to travel around the globe. Such pressure waves have been measured at weather stations in many places, including New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

The Vaisala National Lightning Detection Network recorded tens of thousands of lightning bolts during the eruption phase.

Secret Lab Engineered the Most Sustainable Food in the World

Solar Foods is a startup company that makes food from thin air. Although we currently produce enough food to feed the world – and hunger is a matter of access, not abundance – the environmental costs of abundance are high.

Most Sustainable Food in the World

Even though plant-based alternatives to meat are becoming more popular and gaining market share, their production still requires large-scale agricultural practices.

Even though growing plants has a smaller carbon footprint than raising animals, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. Solar Foods believes that the answer to a more sustainable food supply is not to expect better farming practices or to consume less animal products.

To create this new, sustainable food source, Solar Foods has developed a novel food – a protein from a single-celled organism called Solein. The single-celled protein, which primarily requires electricity and water, has the potential to grow in the harshest environments on Earth. Sustainable food can be produced even in places where conventional farming is difficult or impossible.

Food sustainability, a recipe against pollution

We are what we eat and maintaining a sustainable diet reinforces our commitment to the environment.

This type of healthy eating is:

  • Rrich in vegetables
  • Encourages the consumption of local products
  • Generates less waste
  • Limits the consumption of meat and fish to protect biodiversity

Almost all of us strive to eat in a healthy and balanced way. But do we know how our diet affects social well-being and the health of the planet?

Many of our eating habits are delicious to the palate, but very unsustainable for the environment, the economy and the socio-cultural reality of countries.

How much does our food system contribute to climate change?

Food production leaves a rather bitter taste in nature. The United Nations (UN) estimates that the food industry is responsible for 30% of global energy consumption and 22% of greenhouse gases. As Greenpeace noted in a 2018 report on food sustainability, livestock alone accounts for 14% of these emissions on a global scale.

According to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by 2050 there will be more than 9 billion people on the planet, and we will need to produce 60% more food.

Our oceans are also suffering the consequences of irresponsible nutrition. Massive fishing to meet the demand for fish is leading to the degradation of biodiversity and marine ecosystems. In this particular case, the FAO warns that global fish production must increase by 18% by 2022 to meet consumer demand. On the land, agricultural and livestock operations:

  • Discharge chemicals into waterways
  • Pollute oceans
  • Contribute to the degradation of rivers, lakes, and coasts.

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Green hydrogen economy: this is how it can work

Hydrogen is intended to contribute to the energy transition. The gas can cut emissions and thus minimize global warming. But so far, no country in the world is pursuing a hydrogen economy. It seems too expensive, too complex – and too dangerous.

Green Hydrogen Is Sparking a Revolution in Sustainable Energy.

Green hydrogen to reduce CO2 emissions

Only a Green Hydrogen Economy, many believe, will achieve so-called decarbonization, where CO2 emissions are reduced through the use of low-carbon energy sources. In Europe, 9.8 million metric tons of hydrogen are currently produced each year primarily through the use of fossil fuels. The EU Commission has set a target for clean hydrogen production to increase to one million tons by 2024, rising to ten million tons by 2030.

Producing hydrogen with electrolysis

Hydrogen occurs in nature mainly in bound form. The element is available in almost unlimited quantities in the water molecule, but it is not easy to obtain. If you want to use the gas, you have to split the compound of hydrogen and oxygen. But this so-called electrolysis process, which chemically separates hydrogen and oxygen, requires a lot of energy. If electricity from solar plants or wind turbines is used for this, then we call it green hydrogen. If it comes from fossil fuels, it is called gray hydrogen.

An electrical voltage is applied to two electrodes in a liquid to split hydrogen from oxygen.
An electrical voltage is applied to two electrodes in a liquid to split hydrogen from oxygen.

Two processes: electrolysis and fuel cell

Electrolysis is used to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen is then stored in tanks and, if necessary, brought back together in a reverse reaction in a fuel cell. During this electrochemical reaction, energy is released. Water, electricity and heat are created. Two processes are therefore necessary for the production and use of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Hydrogen and oxygen are brought back together in the fuel cell. The chemical reaction creates energy and water.

Competition between fuel cells and batteries

You fill up with hydrogen and the fuel cell converts the fuel into electrical energy. The electric motor is driven with this energy. There are no exhaust fumes, as is the case with battery-powered electric vehicles. In these vehicles, the electricity comes directly from the battery. A few decades ago, hydrogen vehicles were celebrated as the drive system of the future. In the meantime, battery-powered electric cars have caught up and are cheaper than hydrogen cars in terms of purchase price.

Advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen vehicles

But there are advantages and disadvantages to both vehicle drives. 

For example:

  • filling the tank with hydrogen, which can be done in a few minutes, but there is not a comprehensive infrastructure at filling stations. 

The advantages of fuel cells over batteries are particularly evident in large vehicles. The hydrogen provides enough energy for buses and trucks to heat or cool sufficiently, but without sacrificing range. There is also no need for additional batteries for power supply. Many research projects confirm the strengths of hydrogen propulsion.