Circulate on Fridays: Car free utopias, the power of spider silk and more!

Publication Date: 

Friday, 5 May 2017 - 6:15pm

Author: 

Seb Egerton-Read

This weekend’s Circulate on Fridays is a real beaut! The tour includes Nissan’s announcement of a rival for Tesla’s Powerwall, Oslo as a car-free utopia, the potential of synthetic spider silk as a widely used material source, and much more.

“Batteries that have powered electric cars around the UK will get a second life providing energy storage for households“. Nissan has launched a battery, made in their Sunderland plant, that aims to rival Elon Musk and Tesla’s Powerwall device.

When Oslo outlined plans to transform large parts of the city into ‘car-free areas’, it may have come across as something of a utopian vision. Two years later, and Oslo is a fascinating example of improving quality of life and the ease of getting around by actually reducing vehicle access replacing most on-street parking with bike lanes or pavements. Read the full story on Curbed.

How did Britain manage to go coal-free for a full 24 hours for the first time in 135 years? Futurism’s Karla Lant has the scoop, as the country continues to move towards a goal of eliminating the reliance on coal as an energy source by 2025.

We’ve covered the topic of synthetic biology a couple of times on Circulate, and we’d recommend Christine Lepisto’s piece on another big step towards fully usable synthetic spider silk as a fibre feedstock.

For all the negative press that some of the larger car and ride sharing schemes have received (often deservedly), the 2017 CarPlus Annual Survey has produced some interesting findings that suggest sharing economy mobility business models have actually reduced air pollution in the city of London.

China continues to be a significant source of growth in the solar energy network, reportedly increasing its solar power capacity by 80% during the first quarter of 2017 compared with last year.

Is an army of bag-munching caterpillars the solution to the world’s plastic waste? (Ok, so a funny one, but this BBC piece makes the point that it could be part of the solution for some plastics that currently exist forever).

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