Dubai’s Emirates in $40m partnership for world’s largest vertical farm

Dubai airline Emirates has said its catering division will co-invest in a $40m join venture to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility.

The partnership between Emirates Flight Catering and US-based Crop One Holdings will see the construction of a 130,000sqft vertical farm facility near Dubai’s southern airport Al Maktoum International.

It will have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland and harvest 3 US tonnes (2,700 kg) of “high-quality”, herbicide and pesticide-free leafy greens daily when at full production, according to the announcement.

Emirates said the project would produce crops using 99 per cent less water than outdoor fields and its proximity to the airport would cut carbon emissions for transport.

“This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency, a vision which began with the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father,” said Emirates Group chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

“The introduction of ground-breaking technology at the facility also enhances Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub.”

Construction is scheduled to start in November and take around one year.

The first products will be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.

Crop One Holdings CEO Sonia Lo said the company was chosen after a 10-month search by Emirates.

“Our proven business model has demonstrated profitable commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer,” she said.

Despite its seemingly inhospitable climate for farming, the UAE has a growing agricultural market.

New technologies that are less water intensive are being tested by several start-ups including Pure Harvest to grow crops including tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries.

Read: UAE-based Pure Harvest closes $4.5m seed funding round

This comes as the government seeks to improve the country’s food security by reducing its reliance on imports from a current rate of 80-90 per cent.

Robert Anderson (Source: Gulfbusiness.com)

 

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Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium inks deal to source 100% renewable energy

Arsenal Football Club’s 60,000-seater stadium in North London has become the first Premier League stadium to source 100% of its electricity needs from renewables, after the club extended its supplier deal with Octopus Energy.

The deal will see Octopus Energy power Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium using renewable energy generated across an array of solar farms operated by the energy start-up firm.

The move follows a year-long trial at Arsenal which boosted the club’s use of renewable energy. Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis noted that it was “important” that football clubs take steps in this area.

Octopus Energy’s chief executive Greg Jackson added: “The technology to create electricity from renewable sources is now so efficient, that we can offer ‘green’ energy to our customers which is cheaper than many ‘non-green’ tariffs. Being green doesn’t have to cost the earth.

“We have been delighted to work with such an awesome club as Arsenal, and are looking forward to continuing our partnership into the future.”

While the deal with Octopus Energy makes Arsenal the first Premier League club to switch to 100% renewables to power a stadium, the club has previously implemented various sustainability initiatives at the ground in Ashburton Grove.

The Emirates Stadium is fitted with water recycling systems, while all surplus or waste food is sent to an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, which is turned into energy that is then fed back to the club. The use of voltage optimisation equipment and LED lights have also reduced power use by up to 20%.

Gunning for green

The club’s former midfielder Mathieu Flamini is also making waves in the low-carbon market, after revealing an eight-year secret plan that has seen him set up a market-leading biofuel technology firm in a sector worth up to £20bn.

The French footballer set up GF Biochemicals in 2008, and it is reportedly a leader in developing levulinic acid (LA) – a green alternative to oil that can be used in biofuels, cosmetics, plastics and food preservatives.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, newly-promoted Newcastle United is pursuing a “carbon positive” status and recently installed a combined heat and power (CHP) system at its own St James Park Stadium, to reduce the football club’s emissions by more than 390 tonnes every year.

On the back of Manchester City Football Club partnering with an energy storage company earlier this year, edie took a closer look at how the club incorporated sustainable business practices into its multi-billion pound transformation, in line with its rise up the Premier League table.

Matt Mace (Source: Edie.net)

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Stephen Hawking, modern cosmology’s brightest star, dies aged 76

Stephen Hawking died Wednesday after complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. He was 76.

The world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist was best known for his work on black holes. Hawking theorized that, contrary to the prevailing scientific belief that black holes were inescapable for all forms of matter and energy, they actually emitted a form of radiation ― now known as Hawking radiation. He also played a key role in the mathematical effort to unify Einstein’s general theory of relativity with the emergent field of quantum physics.

Hawking used his position as one of the world’s most famous scientists as a platform to discuss a wide range of issues, from the existence of extraterrestrial life to the nature of philosophy. He skyrocketed to public prominence in 1988, when he published his first general-audience book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. The cosmology treatise has sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling science books of all time.

In 1963, when he was just 21 years old, Hawking was famously diagnosed with the debilitating motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Though 80 percent of those with ALS die within five years of diagnosis, and Hawking’s own doctors gave him roughly two years to live, he survived for decades, perhaps longer than any other patient with the disease in medical history. Hawking used a wheelchair to move around and a sophisticated computer system to speak for much of his time as a public figure.

The physicist’s inspiring ― and turbulent ― personal story was dramatized in the 2014 movie “The Theory of Everything,” which was based on a memoir by Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde. Actor Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking in the film won him an Oscar for best actor.

Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942 ― the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death ― in Oxford, England, to Frank, a physician specializing in tropical disease, and Isobel, a medical secretary. He and his three younger siblings grew up mostly in the town of St. Albans, just north of London, in what has been described as a highly intellectually-engaged home.

At the St. Albans School, Hawking was an indifferent student, preferring to spend his time playing board games and tinkering with computers. But he nonetheless gained admittance to his father’s alma mater, University College at Oxford University, in 1959, at the age of 17.

Upon arriving at Oxford, Hawking toyed with the idea of studying either math or medicine before eventually settling on physics. His attitude toward academic work remained lackadaisical in college. He rarely attended lectures and has said that he spent only 1,000 hours on studies during his three years at Oxford, or just an hour a day.

Still, Hawking’s natural brilliance started to shine through as an undergraduate ― and he apparently felt that his tutors resented him for doing so well with so little work. When he submitted his final thesis, it was given a grade on the border between first-class honors and second-class honors, so Hawking had to face an oral exam that would determine his grade. Knowing his reputation, he reportedly told his examiners, “If you award me a First, I will go to Cambridge. If I receive a Second, I shall stay in Oxford, so I expect you will give me a First.”

He got a First. And, as promised, Hawking enrolled in graduate school at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1962, studying under the physicist Dennis Sciama and the famed astronomer Fred Hoyle. He became interested in the then-nascent study of black holes and singularities, the existence of which had been implied by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

While studying at Cambridge, Hawking met Wilde, a fellow St. Albans native who was a student in modern languages at Westfield College in London at the time. Before the two started dating, Hawking collapsed while ice skating and couldn’t get up. His mother made him go to the doctor, who diagnosed him with ALS and estimated he had just over two years to live.

Years later, during a symposium at Cambridge on his 70th birthday, Hawking reflected on how much he struggled to stay motivated after his diagnosis. Why work so hard for a Ph.D. when you could be dead in two years?

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Stephen Hawking, as he celebrated his 70th birthday

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” he said. “Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Hawking’s motor control deteriorated rapidly; he was soon walking to class on crutches. Yet the disease spurred him to deepen his relationship with Wilde quickly. They married in 1965.

After receiving his doctorate in cosmology, Hawking stayed at Cambridge to continue studying some of the most essential questions about the structure of the universe. In 1968, a year after Jane gave birth their eldest son, Roger, Hawking took a post at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge and began the mature phase of his academic career.

Over the next decade, Hawking published a string of groundbreaking papers on cosmology and theoretical physics that made him a celebrity in the scientific community.

He and English mathematician Roger Penrose wrote key papers in the late 1960s that related the Big Bang ― the event that created the universe ― and black holes, proving that both were the result of singularities in the fabric of space-time. In the early 1970s, Hawking and several other physicists co-wrote a proof of the hypothesis that all black holes can be described in terms of just their mass, angular momentum and electric charge.

It was in 1974 that Hawking proposed what is widely considered his most significant theory: that black holes can emit subatomic particles, now known as Hawking radiation. Prior to his paper, physicists had been sure that nothing could escape the crushing gravity of a black hole. The existence of Hawking radiation also implies that black holes can eventually wither away and die, something that had previously been inconceivable to scientists.

Soon after publishing his paper, Hawking, just 32 years old, was named a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society. He briefly taught at the California Institute of Technology before assuming the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post dating back more than 400 years that was once held by Isaac Newton.

Though Hawking’s family life flourished during this time ― he and Jane Hawking went on to have two more children ― his health did not. He reluctantly started using a wheelchair in 1969, and by the mid-70s, he could no longer feed or clothe himself.

In 1985, Hawking contracted pneumonia while on a trip to Switzerland. Doctors performed a tracheotomy that allowed him to breathe but rendered him unable to speak naturally. At first, he communicated using word cards, which was agonizingly slow. But in 1986, computer scientist Walter Woltosz gave him a device that would vocalize words he typed using a joystick. Hawking called this system, which has since been upgraded several times, “The Computer.” Its electronic voice was an integral part of the physicist’s public image.

Hawking first came up with the idea of writing a book about cosmology for a general audience in 1982. He said he conceived of the project to “earn money to pay [his] daughter’s school fees.” The first draft of A Brief History of Time was finished in 1984, but Hawking’s publisher felt it was too difficult for laypeople to understand, so he went back to work. The revision process became more complicated after Hawking lost his voice in 1985, but he managed to publish the book in 1988.

It was a massive hit: The book was on The New York Times’ best-seller list for three years and The Sunday Times’ U.K. best-seller list for nearly five. Its publication propelled Hawking to international fame that’s endured to this day. He published five additional general-audience books on science, plus one memoir and four children’s books. He also guest-starred on both “The Simpsons” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Stephen and Jane Hawking separated after several years of tension in 1990, which Jane said was exacerbated by her husband’s newfound “fame and fortune.” The physicist began a relationship with Elaine Mason, one of his nurses. After his divorce from Jane Hawking, he married Mason in 1995.

Hawking and his ex-wife did not speak for several years, but they started communicating again after he and Mason got divorced in 2007. Stephen and Jane Hawking later began living around the corner from one another in Cambridge.

In 2011, Hawking appeared on the Discovery Channel TV series “Curiosity,” in which he reflected on the origins of the universe and rejected the likelihood of both a God and an afterlife. (He once dismissed the latter as “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”) Only in confronting the finite nature of death, he said, do we appreciate the remarkable beauty of life in the present.

“There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either,” Hawking said. “We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

In addition to his two former wives, Hawking is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

Source: HuffingtonPost

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