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News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. They report their development in ACS' journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. In 2014, consumers around the world discarded about 42 million metric tons of e-waste, according to a report by the United Nations University. This poses an environmental and human threat because electronic products are made up of many components, some of which are toxic or non-degradable. To help address the issue, Xinlong Wang and colleagues sought to develop a degradable material that could be used for electronic substrates or insulators. The researchers started with polylactic acid, or PLA, which is a bioplastic that can be derived from corn starch or other natural sources and is already used in the packaging, electronics and automotive industries. PLA by itself, however, is brittle and flammable, and doesn't have the right electrical properties to be a good electronic substrate or insulator. But the researchers found that blending metal-organic framework nanoparticles with PLA resulted in a transparent film with the mechanical, electrical and flame retardant properties that make the material a promising candidate for use in electronics. The authors acknowledge funding from the Science and Technology Support Program of Jiangsu Province of China and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions. The abstract that accompanies this study is available here. The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

"De start van het jaar was bemoedigend in alle segmenten behalve Bakery, dat achterbleef bij onze verwachtingen. De winstgevendheid overtrof de verwachtingen doordat verbeteringen in de mix de onderliggende marges bleven opstuwen. De PLA-joint-venture met Total is operationeel sinds begin maart", aldus Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO, in een toelichting op de cijfers.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. They report their development in ACS' journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. In 2014, consumers around the world discarded about 42 million metric tons of e-waste, according to a report by the United Nations University. This poses an environmental and human threat because electronic products are made up of many components, some of which are toxic or non-degradable. To help address the issue, Xinlong Wang and colleagues sought to develop a degradable material that could be used for electronic substrates or insulators. The researchers started with polylactic acid, or PLA, which is a bioplastic that can be derived from corn starch or other natural sources and is already used in the packaging, electronics and automotive industries. PLA by itself, however, is brittle and flammable, and doesn't have the right electrical properties to be a good electronic substrate or insulator. But the researchers found that blending metal-organic framework nanoparticles with PLA resulted in a transparent film with the mechanical, electrical and flame retardant properties that make the material a promising candidate for use in electronics. The authors acknowledge funding from the Science and Technology Support Program of Jiangsu Province of China and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he reviews the army, at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a military restructure of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to transform it into a leaner fighting force with improved joint operations capability, state media said. Centered around a new, condensed structure of 84 military units, the reshuffle builds on Xi's years-long efforts to modernize the PLA with greater emphasis on new capabilities including cyberspace, electronic and information warfare. As chair of the Central Military Commission, Xi is also commander-in-chief of China's armed forces. "This has profound and significant meaning in building a world-class military," Xi told commanders of the new units at the PLA headquarters in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency report late on Tuesday. All 84 new units are at the combined-corps level, which means commanders will hold the rank of major-general or rear-admiral, the official China Daily reported Wednesday, adding that unit members would likely be regrouped from existing forces given the Chinese military was still engaged in cutting its troops by 300,000, one of the wide-ranging military reforms introduced by Xi in late 2015. Those reforms include establishing a joint operational command structure by 2020 and rejigging existing military regions, as well as streamlining troop numbers particularly in non-combat facing roles. The previous seven military area commands were regrouped into five, and the four military departments - staff, politics, logistics and armaments - were reorganized into 15 agencies last year. The 84 units will come under the 15 agencies. Retired PLA Major-General Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher at the Beijing-based China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said the restructure represented the second major phase of Xi's reforms. "Since military reforms started it has been one step at a time," Xu told Reuters. "The high-level framework is now in place, now this is the second phase targeting the entire mid-ranking levels of the military." Beijing has been moving rapidly to upgrade its military hardware as it grows increasingly assertive about its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and as it seeks to expand its military prowess overseas. Chinese media reports have speculated that the country's second aircraft carrier - and its first built at home - will be launched on Sunday, the navy's founding anniversary. Xi has also made rooting out deeply entrenched corruption in the military a top priority. Dozens of senior officers have been investigated and jailed.


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

3D Synergy Technologies Inc. to Release a 3D Drawing Pen Dedicated to Professionals Canada-based company, 3D Synergy Technologies Inc. will release an advanced 3D drawing pen that is specifically catered to professionals. The new feature packed pen will be launched under their own brand, 3D Magic Wand. This 3D Magic Wand Pro Pen is designed and created with the professional user in mind. “We are thrilled and excited to announce the release of our first 3D Magic Wand Pro Pen,” said Jamie Smilovici, President and CEO. “The 3D pen industry is a growing segment of 3D printing. Consumers are starting to realize that 3D pens also have a professional application. To this extent, we would like to provide artists, designers, engineers and other professionals with a tool that will bring life to imagination. Our 3D pro pen was created by professionals, for professionals.” 3D Magic Wand Pro Pen addresses the concerns of the professional user. It features a built-in fan to reduce heat and eliminate jamming, auto-feed and auto-eject functions for prolonged use, variable speed, precise temperature setting, an OLED screen and more. This 3D pen comes with environmentally friendly PLA filament. It also allows the user to utilize other materials such as carbon fibre, metallic, wood, conductive and ABS filaments. “Professionals are turning to hand-controlled, quick result 3D printing pens for rapid prototyping and concept realization in the fields of education, architecture and design,” says Jamie Smilovici. The 3D Magic Wand Pro Pen will be available online at our crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo.com on April 18th for a limited time. Search for “3D Magic Wand Pro Pen”. 3D Synergy Technologies (Coretech Americas) is an innovative, tech-savvy company that manufactures and markets its own line of 3D products under the 3D Magic Wand brand and also under the Polaroid brand name. Our range of products include all things 3D - pens, printers, scanners, filament, and related accessories while maintaining our core belief of providing environmentally safe consumer products. Under our parent company, Coretech HK, we have been manufacturing toys for some of the worlds leading brands since 1987, but in the last decade we have expanded our manufacturing capabilities and ventured into consumer technologies. For more information, visit www.3dsyntech.com. Explore the possibilities of 3D Pen HERE.


DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Biodegradable Packaging Materials Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. The global biodegradable packaging materials market to grow at a CAGR of 10.55% during the period 2017-2021. The report, Global Biodegradable Packaging Materials Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. One trend in market is cost-effective biodegradable plastic packaging. An emerging trend in the market is the focused effort by the market players to produce cost-effective biodegradable packaging materials. Vendors are investing in new technologies to develop cost-effective methods of production to overcome the challenges in the production stage. Many manufacturers are working toward the development of cheaper PLA, a type of bio-plastic, which is used commonly for manufacturing packaging materials and disposable utensils. According to the report, one driver in market is support for bio-based and biodegradable packaging materials. Conventional plastics do not degrade within a short span and are a cause of land-filling. On the contrary, bioplastics and paper are degraded rapidly by microbes. Retailers play a leading role in encouraging the consumers to adopt bio-based packaging materials. In recent years, retailers are actively adapting bags made of biological materials and biodegradable packaging. The increased adoption of sustainable packaging products by retailers will increase the replacement of non-renewable packaging materials with renewable ones. For more information about this report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/rwdr3t/global


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: phys.org

As consumers upgrade their gadgets at an increasing pace, the amount of electronic waste we generate continues to mount. To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn starch or other natural sources for use in more eco-friendly electronic components. They report their development in ACS' journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. In 2014, consumers around the world discarded about 42 million metric tons of e-waste, according to a report by the United Nations University. This poses an environmental and human threat because electronic products are made up of many components, some of which are toxic or non-degradable. To help address the issue, Xinlong Wang and colleagues sought to develop a degradable material that could be used for electronic substrates or insulators. The researchers started with polylactic acid, or PLA, which is a bioplastic that can be derived from corn starch or other natural sources and is already used in the packaging, electronics and automotive industries. PLA by itself, however, is brittle and flammable, and doesn't have the right electrical properties to be a good electronic substrate or insulator. But the researchers found that blending metal-organic framework nanoparticles with PLA resulted in a transparent film with the mechanical, electrical and flame retardant properties that make the material a promising candidate for use in electronics. The authors acknowledge funding from the Science and Technology Support Program of Jiangsu Province of China and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions. Explore further: Researchers develop new biodegradable silicon transistor based on a material derived from wood More information: Xiaowei Shi et al. Degradable Poly(lactic acid)/Metal–Organic Framework Nanocomposites Exhibiting Good Mechanical, Flame Retardant, and Dielectric Properties for the Fabrication of Disposable Electronics, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.6b04204 Abstract Nano metal–organic frameworks (ZIF-8) particles were synthesized, and poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/ZIF-8 nanocomposite films were prepared by solution-blending and film-casting methods. The addition of nano ZIF-8 particles improved the mechanical properties and had an impact on the crystallization of PLA. The electrical properties of the PLA/ZIF-8 nanocomposites were found to be dependent on the frequency and the ZIF-8 content. The prepared PLA/ZIF-8 films had good transparency even as the content of the nano ZIF-8 particles reached 3 wt %. Compared with 21.5% of pure PLA, the limited oxygen index value of the nanocomposite film containing 1 wt % ZIF-8 reached 26.0%. Therefore, it is proposed that the prepared nanocomposites can be used as the substrates and dielectric to make disposable electronics. The char residues after burning were studied in detail by scanning electron microscopy and Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies, and the flame retardant mechanism was also discussed.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

When the boss of UK pub chain Oakman Inns, Peter Borg-Neal, was shown a YouTube video (warning: graphic content) of a turtle in obvious pain as a plastic straw is removed from its nostril, he reflected on his company’s own straw consumption: 100,000 per month. At least that was the figure until last week, when the company announced it was restricting the use of plastic straws across its 17 pubs and called on other businesses in the hospitality sector to follow suit. Customers at Oakman Inns will no longer receive a straw automatically, but a supply will be available for those that specifically ask for one. “My response when I saw the video was the same as anyone else. It’s appalling and horribly unnecessary,” says Borg-Neal. “Those straws simply should not be in the sea.” The effort to rein in plastic consumption suggests that mounting pressure on the issue from environmental and animal welfare groups is being felt in the pub and restaurant trade. Like other small bits of plastic waste, straws frequently get into our rivers and oceans, and on to our roadsides. The movement against them, spearheaded by international campaigns such as The Last Plastic Straw and Strawless Ocean has gathered pace in recent years and is gradually winning backing from business. Other UK companies to have taken action include burger-and-beer chain MEATliquor, which banned plastic straws in January. Removing plastic straws from bars and restaurants sounds like one of the easier sustainability challenges. The very elderly and the very young may well require a straw to drink with, as may some disabled people. But surely the majority of us can go without? Theoretically yes, says Tom Tanner, spokesman for Sustainable Restaurant Association, an industry group that counts Oakman Inns among its members. But for many consumers, drinking with a straw in a bar or restaurant is an ingrained habit, he says, and it can be hard for staff to tell customers what to do. The hope of Tanner and others is that consumers will come to realise that they can do without straws, just as they have realised they can do without plastic shopping bags – UK supermarkets reported an 85% drop in carrier bag use after a 5p levy was introduced in England in late 2015, proving that rapid behavioural change is possible with the right incentives. Rather than push for their own levy, however, campaigners against straws have so far focused on persuasion and awareness raising. “If asked, I’m sure a lot of customers don’t actually want one [a straw] anyway,” says Jamie Poulton, co-owner of Randall & Aubin, one of a small cohort of restaurants in London’s Soho district to get rid of plastic straws back in 2012 as part of the Straw Wars campaign, which has signed up 72 members to date. For businesses that do take action, they still need something for when customers really do want a straw. Do sustainable alternatives exist? Randall & Aubin opted for paper substitutes, but these have a reputation for going claggy. Oakman Inns intends to introduce a compostable straw, says Borg-Neal, but is yet to decide on a supplier. In fact, there are plenty to choose from. Recent years have seen an eco explosion in the catering disposables market, with companies such as Biopac, Enviropack and Purple Planet Supplies offering everything from recyclable cups to biodegradable cutlery. These products come at a cost: 7mm biodegradable straws made by Vegware, a market leader that manufactures compostable straws from plant-based polymer PLA, work out at 0.016p per straw, more than double the average price for the bog-standard plastic variety. There is also the challenge of making sure they actually get composted – not a given for compostable products. Here pubs and restaurants are at an advantage says Martin Kersh, executive director at the Food Packaging Association. Unlike beverage companies, whose drinks are consumed all over the place, making collection highly problematic, pubs and restaurants present a “fairly closed environment”, he says. This means straws can be collected by bar staff together with drinks and separated out for composting. There is another solution: reusable straws. Rachelle Strauss, organiser of the UK’s annual Zero Waste Week, suggests stainless steel or glass versions for punters to carry around with them, in the mould of bring-your-own coffee cups. It’s difficult to imagine anyone but the most hardened eco-enthusiasts hitting the town with their own straw at the ready, however. Simply ditching the straw may in the end be the simplest solution. That’s certainly the hope of MEATliquor co-founder Yianni Papoutsis. “I think in five years’ time it will become the norm for drinks to be served without plastic straws,” he says. “If large and small operators in the UK can make this normal practice, then the waste reduction would be huge.” Sign up to be a Guardian Sustainable Business member and get more stories like this direct to your inbox every week. You can also follow us on Twitter.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: news.mit.edu

For centuries, cellulose has formed the basis of the world’s most abundantly printed-on material: paper. Now, thanks to new research at MIT, it may also become an abundant material to print with — potentially providing a renewable, biodegradable alternative to the polymers currently used in 3-D printing materials. “Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer in the world,” says MIT postdoc Sebastian Pattinson, lead author of a paper describing the new system in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. The paper is co-authored by associate professor of mechanical engineering A. John Hart, the Mitsui Career Development Professor in Contemporary Technology. Cellulose, Pattinson explains, is “the most important component in giving wood its mechanical properties. And because it’s so inexpensive, it’s biorenewable, biodegradable, and also very chemically versatile, it’s used in a lot of products. Cellulose and its derivatives are used in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, as food additives, building materials, clothing — all sorts of different areas. And a lot of these kinds of products would benefit from the kind of customization that additive manufacturing [3-D printing] enables.” Meanwhile, 3-D printing technology is rapidly growing. Among other benefits, it “allows you to individually customize each product you make,” Pattinson says. Using cellulose as a material for additive manufacturing is not a new idea, and many researchers have attempted this but faced major obstacles. When heated, cellulose thermally decomposes before it becomes flowable, partly because of the hydrogen bonds that exist between the cellulose molecules. The intermolecular bonding also makes high-concentration cellulose solutions too viscous to easily extrude. Instead, the MIT team chose to work with cellulose acetate — a material that is easily made from cellulose and is already widely produced and readily available. Essentially, the number of hydrogen bonds in this material has been reduced by the acetate groups. Cellulose acetate can be dissolved in acetone and extruded through a nozzle. As the acetone quickly evaporates, the cellulose acetate solidifies in place. A subsequent optional treatment replaces the acetate groups and increases the strength of the printed parts. “After we 3-D print, we restore the hydrogen bonding network through a sodium hydroxide treatment,” Pattinson says. “We find that the strength and toughness of the parts we get … are greater than many commonly used materials” for 3-D printing, including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). To demonstrate the chemical versatility of the production process, Pattinson and Hart added an extra dimension to the innovation. By adding a small amount of antimicrobial dye to the cellulose acetate ink, they 3-D-printed a pair of surgical tweezers with antimicrobial functionality. “We demonstrated that the parts kill bacteria when you shine fluorescent light on them,” Pattinson says. Such custom-made tools “could be useful for remote medical settings where there’s a need for surgical tools but it’s difficult to deliver new tools as they break, or where there’s a need for customized tools. And with the antimicrobial properties, if the sterility of the operating room is not ideal the antimicrobial function could be essential,” he says. Because most existing extrusion-based 3-D printers rely on heating polymer to make it flow, their production speed is limited by the amount of heat that can be delivered to the polymer without damaging it. This room-temperature cellulose process, which simply relies on evaporation of the acetone to solidify the part, could potentially be faster, Pattinson says. And various methods could speed it up even further, such as laying down thin ribbons of material to maximize surface area, or blowing hot air over it to speed evaporation. A production system would also seek to recover the evaporated acetone to make the process more cost effective and environmentally friendly. Cellulose acetate is already widely available as a commodity product. In bulk, the material is comparable in price to that of thermoplastics used for injection molding, and it’s much less expensive than the typical filament materials used for 3-D printing, the researchers say. This, combined with the room-temperature conditions of the process and the ability to functionalize cellulose in a variety of ways, could make it commercially attractive. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.


News Article | April 29, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Perhaps you are looking for a more ethical home for your current account cash. Or maybe you are a Co-operative Bank customer who is considering closing your account following its well-publicised troubles. If either of those sound like you – or perhaps you simply don’t want to give your money to one of the “big four” banks – then as of this week there’s a new option. Triodos, which bills itself as “Europe’s leading sustainable bank”, has taken the wraps off its first-ever British personal current account. The bank is allowing people to register their interest, and in June it will begin sending out invitations to those who have registered to apply for an account. Founded in the Netherlands in 1980, Triodos set up an office in the UK in 1995 and has been offering savings and investments here for some years. It now has almost 50,000 UK customers, and more than half a million across Europe. It offers current accounts in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, and says it is now finally ready to launch a full banking service in Britain. Triodos’s USP is that it only lends money to organisations and projects that are “making a positive difference to society”, whether’s that’s socially, culturally or environmentally. It publishes details of every loan it makes via its website, and its borrowers have included chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ, and Worthy Farm, home to the Glastonbury festival. “We want people to really think about what their bank is doing with their money. Money doesn’t have to be invested in the arms trade, fossil fuels and tobacco – it can be used to do good things that help build the society we want to live in,” says the bank. Triodos’s green credentials are impeccable, but there is a stumbling block: all customers have to pay a £3 monthly fee (ie £36 a year) for the current account service. That may well prove to be a deal-breaker for some, particularly as the bank isn’t offering any upfront financial incentives to tempt people to sign up. Triodos is entering a hugely competitive market. Just two days ago M&S Bank announced that new customers who switch to one of its current accounts – there is one with no monthly fee, and one costing £10 a month – will now get up to £185 to spend in M&S. They initially receive a £125 gift card, which will then be topped up with £5 each month they deposit £1,000-plus in their account during the first year. Meanwhile, Halifax has a no-monthly-fee Reward account, where you get a £3 payment each month you pay in £750 or more, plus a £75 switching inducement. This week the Halifax said official figures showed it was “the most switched-to bank on the high street”. So what is Triodos offering? This is a current account that will work in all the ways you would expect, and can be opened by any UK resident aged 18 or over who meets the eligibility criteria. The account is operated online and via a mobile app. Triodos is not providing a telephone banking service, though it will offer phone-based support, and while it has offices, there are no high street branches. The account comes with a contactless Mastercard debit card made from PLA, a “natural plastic”, which can be used to make payments, cashpoint withdrawals etc. You can request a chequebook and apply for an overdraft, though the £2,000 maximum is lower than that offered by many other banks. The authorised overdraft rate is 18% EAR, which is competitive but not top of the market. Triodos won’t charge anything extra for setting up and using an overdraft. Someone banking with Triodos with an authorised overdraft of £600 used for seven days each month would incur charges of £23.06 a year, compared with £84 at Santander and Halifax, and £97.24 with NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland. The bank will not allow unauthorised overdrafts – it will simply not pay items when there are insufficient funds. Unpaid items will incur a £5 charge, with a maximum monthly charge of £50. Triodos claims that for many years people have been able to make positive choices about things such as food, energy and transport, but not banking. The Co-operative Bank might have something to say about that – it is the only high street bank with a customer-led ethical policy covering a range of issues from the environment to animal welfare. However, Co-op Bank put itself up for sale in February, four years after it nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by hedge funds, and there has been speculation that it may have to be broken up. So Triodos is likely to pick up at least a few Co-op Bank leavers. Nevertheless, the Co-op is still very much open to new customers: it is offering £110 to people who move to its no-monthly-fee current account via the industry’s switching service. So how does Triodos justify that £3 monthly fee? Huw Davies, its head of retail banking, says it believes it is fairer that everyone should pay a “modest” monthly charge to cover the cost of providing a banking service. “There is no such thing as free banking because someone else always pays. ‘Free’ accounts are usually subsidised with high penalty charges and hidden fees, so the most vulnerable customers, or those making a rare miscalculation with the household finances, end up paying an exorbitant price.” Some people may feel uneasy about signing up with a bank headquartered in the Netherlands when Britain is poised to leave the EU. While most banks offering products to consumers have a UK banking licence and £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection, European banks are allowed to operate here under their home country’s regulations in a system known as passporting. This means that consumers banking with a such a bank are covered by its home country’s compensation scheme and not the UK’s. Triodos Bank in the UK is part of Triodos Bank NV, based in the Netherlands. That means it is covered by the Dutch deposit-guarantee scheme, which guarantees up to €100,000 (£84,450) per person. For joint accounts held in the names of two people it is €200,000. As an extra safeguard, if a credit balance is directly related to a house purchase or sale, the maximum guaranteed is €500,000. This applies for three months after the money is paid into the account. Data provider Moneyfacts has previously said that while consumers can be reassured that under European law, money held with European banks is covered by the compensation scheme of the bank’s home country, “they should bear in mind that in the event of a crisis they face language and exchange rate issues”. Incidentally, Triodos says: “We are absolutely committed to remaining in the UK.” Sally Murrall-Smith is one of those planning to sign up for Triodos’s current account. The 38-year-old who lives in Totnes, Devon, says she has always been interested in the environment. She has been a NatWest customer for decades but intends to jump ship as soon as she is able. “I want my money to be used to drive positive change,” says Murrall-Smith, who is the mother of two boys aged three and one. “Triodos funds infrastructure projects such as renewable energy and low-carbon social housing, which I see as paramount. Moreover, I love the fact it’s so transparent – I can easily find out where my money is going.” Murrall-Smith works for Totnes Renewable Energy Society (Tresoc), a member-owned community organisation, and first came across Triodos two years ago when she invested in a bond issue to finance a hydropower scheme on the Totnes weir. This was developed by a company called Dart Renewables and financed through the bank. “I was thrilled to be able to invest in such a fantastic renewable energy project on my doorstep, a project that made social, economic and environmental sense,” she says. Shortly after that she got a job with Tresoc, which is developing a community-owned hydro power plant in nearby Staverton. She likes the fact that Triodos supports organisations looking to develop local green energy supplies, enabling them to raise capital and finance projects that ordinarily wouldn’t get built. Murrall-Smith says that in the past she could have done more to find a bank suited to her values, but that banks haven’t been transparent.

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