Four Norwegian entities – energy company Equinor, oil exploration and development company Aker BP, independent research organization SINTEF and classification society DNV – have signed an agreement to develop technology and methods aimed at the capture of millions of tons of carbon through sugar kelp cultivation.
The pilot project, Seaweed Carbon Solutions, will run until 2024, and then, if all goes to plan, transition into a commercial phase with one or more large facilities off the coast of Trøndelag. The goal is to demonstrate the potential of the technology for carbon capture on an industrial scale.
The project has over 30 million Norwegian kroner at its disposition over a three year pilot phase and will be led by SINTEF and DNV, with Equinor and Aker BP as main partners. The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) will participate as a research and innovation partner, and the U.N. Global Compact and Rev Ocean will participate as advisors on the project.
The project involves cultivating large amounts of sugar kelp on long ropes connected to buoys set out to sea. The facilities will be placed in areas with a natural capacity for kelp cultivation. With the help of photosynthesis, the kelp will use the sunlight to grow and bind carbon from the atmosphere – the same process trees and plants perform on land. After approximately six months in the ocean, the kelp will have bound the maximum amount of CO2 and be ready for harvesting and further processing for carbon storage.
Two alternative use cases for carbon storage will be tested. One involves soil improvement. Harvested kelp goes through a pyrolysis process where it is blended with composted kelp and soil to make environmentally friendly and nutrient-rich fertilizer, with the carbon stored safely and securely in the ground. The alternative method involves sinking harvested kelp to the ocean floor at areas deeper than 1000 meters. At such depths, the material mixes with surface water at a very slow rate, and the material remains in the sediments, preventing greenhouse gasses from being released into the atmosphere again.
Carbon capture is essential for ensuring that the world reaches its climate goals and curbs global warming in line with the Paris Agreement. The project partners say they expect that kelp cultivation can make a significant contribution to the climate due to its effectiveness as a method and its large potential for eventual up-scaling. The partners believe that carbon capture with kelp can work successfully in many places throughout the world, giving the technology a significant potential for up-scaling and export.
IN OTHER NEWS DURING THE AUGUST BREAK:
The World Economic Forum`s Centre for Cybersecurity launched a new Community Paper “The ‘Zero Trust’ Model in Cybersecurity: Towards understanding and deployment”. Zero Trust is a strategic approach to cybersecurity that involves eliminating implicit trust and continuously validating every stage of a digital interactiont using strong authentication methods. Amid growing cyber threats and a changing work environment, ‘zero trust’ is increasingly being regarded as means of improving cybersecurity across organizations. Projections suggest that the zero trust market will grow from $27.4 billion in 2022 to $60.7 billion by 2027. However, even though 80% of C-suite leaders consider zero trust a top priority for their organizations, it is often misperceived as a silver bullet to all cybersecurity challenges. The Forum’s new community paper aims to demystify zero trust and provide a set of guiding principles and best practices to help organizations navigate zero trust development and implementation.
CHINA’S BAIDU REVEALS ITS FIRST QUANTUM COMPUTER
Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc revealed its first quantum computer on August 25 and is ready to make it available to external users, joining the global race to apply the technology to practical uses.The Baidu-developed quantum computer, dubbed “Qianshi”, has a 10-quantum-bit (qubit) processor, Baidu said in a statement. The Beijing-based company has also developed a 36-qubit quantum chip, it said.Governments and companies around the world for years have touted the potential of quantum computing, a form of high-speed calculation at extraordinarily cold temperatures that will bring computers to unprecedented processing speeds.However, current real-world applications in the field are still very basic and limited to a small group of early clients.The United States, China and the European Union have initiated massively funded projects in quantum computing, hoping to pull ahead in the field, which is often considered as one of the cornerstones on which the new global supremacy will be determined. Global governments and companies will invest around $16.4 billion in quantum development by the end of 2027, according to market researcher IDC.
U.S. Regulator Sues Data Broker Over Sale Of Location Information
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued adtech group Kochava for allegedly selling location data from “hundreds of millions of mobile devices” that could be used to trace individuals’ movements, sending a warning shot to other data brokers and the broa. The FTC said Idaho-based Kochava, a data broker that measures the effectiveness of mobile marketing, had violated its policies by acquiring, and then selling, precise geolocation data of smartphone users, which could be used to track users to and from sensitive locations — including abortion clinics, other medical locations and religious institutions. “Kochava is enabling others to identify individuals and exposing them to threats of stigma, stalking, discrimination, job loss, and even physical violence,” the agency said in a press release. It is seeking to stop Kochava from selling sensitive data and compel it to delete any such information already located. The lawsuit from the US agency, which is led by prominent Big Tech critic Lina Khan, is part of “a watershed change in how policymakers, law enforcement, and the tech industry approach consumer data and privacy”, Cory Munchbach, president at customer data platform BlueConic, told the Financial Times. She pointed out that in the past two weeks the FTC had announced it was exploring a rulemaking process to “crack down on harmful commercial surveillance” relating to lax data security. Separately, California’s attorney-general last week announced a $1.2mn settlement with Sephora, the beauty store chain, for allegedly failing to tell consumers it was selling their personal information.
Musk’s SpaceX And T-Mobile Plan To Connect Mobile Phones To Satellites, Boost Cell Coverage
U.S wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc will use Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with network access in parts of the United States, outlining plans to connect users’ mobile phones directly to satellites in orbit.The new plans, which would exist alongside T-mobile’s existing cellular services, would cut out the need for cell towers and offer service for sending texts and images where cell coverage does not currently exist, key for emergency situations in remote areas. Starlink’s satellites will use T-Mobile’s mid-band spectrum to create a new network. Most phones used by the company’s customers will be compatible with the new service, which will start with texting services in a beta phase beginning by the end of next year.SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 low-Earth-orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019, outpacing rivals OneWeb and Amazon.com’s Project Kuiper.
Boeing, Northrop to Join White House-Backed Advanced Manufacturing Program
Boeing and Northrop Grumman are joining a White House-backed group to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers increase the use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies.The voluntary program, unveiled by President Joe Biden in May, seeks to boost suppliers’ use of additive manufacturing. Driven by 3D printing, the technology allows complex shapes to be built in layers from particles of plastic or metal. The Biden administration views it as an innovation that will enable U.S. manufacturers to flourish and create jobs
Military Night Vision Might Save Patients Lives In Hospitals
Sheba Medical Center, in Tel Hashomer, central Israel, signed a landmark agreement in August with Opgal, a subsidiary of the defense electronics company Elbit Systems, to develop its advanced thermal imaging technologies specifically for medical use. During wartime, thermal imaging picks up temperature differences to see in the dark. It reveals hidden enemies and threats, and provides vital data for tank commanders, fighter pilots, drone operators and more. In hospital operating theaters it will allow surgeons to see the flow of blood through a patient’s heart as never before, providing them with invaluable extra information during the procedure. It will also alert nurses to problems with diabetic patients’ feet in order to avoid possible amputations and promises to raise the alarm if intensive-care patients stop breathing, by constantly monitoring their carbon dioxide output.
Amazon Shifts US Telehealth Strategy
Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, ending an ambitious plan to roll out its homegrown platform to “millions” of patients around the country, part of a long-stated goal of disrupting the US healthcare industry. Analysts said Amazon Care’s closure, which will come at the end of the year, should not be seen as a retreat on its efforts to gain a foothold in the $4 trillion U.S. healthcare sector. Amazon’s decision comes after its recent agreement to acquire One Medical, a large network of primary care providers, for $3.9bn — its largest deal in the healthcare space. That takeover, if approved by regulators, would provide Amazon with much of the access to corporate employees it had been seeking with Amazon Care,, making the in-house platform redundant. Companies such as Google offer One Medical to employees. “One Medical already has all these contracts, and does telemedicine,” one industry observer told The Financial Times. “It made sense for Amazon to acquire an existing network. Physician recruitment is really hard, building insurance contracts is really hard, building employer relationships is really hard. All of those things take a long time and One Medical was available to purchase.” With a workforce in excess of 1.5mn, more than 200mn Prime subscribers globally, and expansive logistics and cloud computing infrastructure, Amazon has long been considered ideally positioned to take on some of the healthcare industry’s incumbents. Amazon is also among the bidders for Signify Health, a home healthcare provider, which is courting several offers. The decision to explore a deal, which would be Amazon’s fourth big healthcare sector transaction in recent years, highlights the company’s will to test antitrust regulators’ appetite to curtail its M&A strategy.
FUTURE OF WORK
APPLE EMPLOYEES PROTEST THREE-DAY-A-WEEK OFFICE POLICY
A group of Apple staffers is petitioning for a more flexible working environment after the tech giant recently told employees they will need to be in the office at least three days a week.The group, AppleTogether, said it represents current Apple workers. It wrote a petition following Apple’s announcement that employees must work from the office for three days a week starting next month.In the petition, the group asked the company to let employees decide their own work arrangements with their managers. The group said it didn’t want workers to have to provide private information or to ask for higher-level approvals to secure their chosen arrangements.The employees who want more flexible work arrangements had compelling reasons, the petition said, including disabilities, health concerns and the fact that some of them are happier and more productive in flexible work environments.
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