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Local News

Ammonia for fertilisers without the giant carbon footprint

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Green ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon footprint needed to produce fertiliser vital for crop-growing.

Ammonia for fertilisers without the giant carbon footprint

 

UNSW Sydney

Green ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon footprint needed to produce fertiliser vital for crop-growing.

The production of ammonia for fertilisers – which has one of the largest carbon footprints among industrial processes – will soon be possible on farms using low-cost, low-energy and environmentally friendly technology.

This is thanks to researchers at UNSW Sydney and their collaborators who have developed an innovative technique for sustainable ammonia production at scale.

Up until now, the production of ammonia has relied on high-energy processes that leave a massive global carbon footprint – temperatures of more than 400 oC and pressures exceeding 200 atmospheres that account for 2 per cent of the world’s energy and 1.8 per cent of its CO2.

But the researchers have come up with a method that significantly enhances energy efficiency while making environmentally friendly ammonia economically feasible. The new technique eliminates the requirement for high temperatures, high pressure, and extensive infrastructure in ammonia production.

In a paper published recently in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, the authors show that the process they developed has enabled the large-scale synthesis of green ammonia by increasing its energy efficiency and production rate.

The foundation of this research, previously published by the same research group, has already been licensed to an Australian industry partner, PlasmaLeap Technologies, through the UNSW Knowledge Exchange program. It is set to be translated into the Australian agriculture industry, with a prototype already scaled up and ready for deployment.

The latest study follows on from the proof-of-concept research performed by the same UNSW research group three years ago with significant advances in energy efficiency and production rate in the process, thus improving commercial profitability.

The research also represents an opportunity to use green ammonia in the hydrogen transport market, as liquid ammonia (NH3) can store more hydrogen in a smaller space than liquefied hydrogen (H2), making the transportation of hydrogen energy more economical.

Green ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon footprint needed to produce fertiliser vital for crop-growing.

Green ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon footprint needed to produce fertiliser vital for crop-growing.

Net zero objectives

While the conventional process used for ammonia production is notably energy-intensive – relying heavily on fossil fuels as its primary energy and hydrogen sources – it has been instrumental in increasing crop yields and sustaining a growing global population.

Dr. Ali Jalili, the study’s leader and a former Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at UNSW, says adopting a sustainable approach to ammonia production is crucial for global net zero objectives.

“Currently, the traditional method of producing ammonia – known as the Haber-Bosch process – accounts for 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of ammonia, equivalent to approximately 2 per cent of global carbon emissions. Additionally, Haber-Bosch is economically viable only in large-scale and centralised facilities. Consequently, the transportation from these facilities to farms will increase the CO2 emission by 50 per cent,” he says.

“Ammonia-based fertilisers are in critically short supply due to international supply chain disruptions and geopolitical issues, which impact our food security and production costs.

“This, together with its potential for hydrogen energy storage and transportation, makes ammonia key to Australia’s renewable energy initiatives, positioning the country among the leaders in renewable energy exports and utilisation.”

As well as addressing economic and logistical challenges associated with intermittent energy sources for cities or farms, Dr Jalili says to fully unlock its potential, it is “essential to establish a decentralised and energy-efficient production method that can effectively use surplus renewable electricity”.

Dr. Ali Jalili was recently named an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and has obtained additional funding of more than $842,000 to apply this technology to produce environmentally-friendly fertilisers.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Gardening

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

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Kids Cubby Houses

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

 

Cubby houses, those quaint, imaginative structures nestled in backyards around the globe, are more than just play spaces for kids—they are sanctuaries of creativity, learning, and childhood memories. In this exploration of cubby houses, we delve into their charm, benefits for childhood development, design considerations, and tips for creating the ultimate backyard adventure.

Cubby Houses and Childhood Development

At first glance, a cubby house might appear as a simple wooden structure tucked into a garden corner. Yet, to children, it represents a boundless world of fantasy and freedom. These mini-homes are the stages for imaginative play, where kids can be pirates one day and bold explorers the next. This imaginative play is crucial for cognitive development, raising creativity, problem-solving skills, and independence.

Cubby houses also serve as a child’s first look into ownership, giving them a sense of responsibility and pride in their space. Decorating and caring for their cubby, children learn about organisation and personal responsibility in a fun, engaging way.

The Design Philosophy Behind Cubby Houses

When designing a cubby house, the goal is to balance safety, creativity, and environmental harmony. Modern cubby houses range from simplistic designs to elaborate mini-mansions, equipped with verandas, slides, and even climbing walls. However, the essence of a cubby house is not in its complexity but in its ability to inspire and adapt to a child’s imagination.

Eco-friendly materials and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in cubby house construction. Recycled wood, non-toxic paints, and solar-powered lights are just a few options for parents looking to minimise environmental impact. Moreover, incorporating natural elements like sandpits, water play areas, and gardens can further connect children with nature, enhancing their learning and sensory development.

Incorporating Education into Play

The educational potential of cubby houses is vast. By integrating elements like chalkboards, weather stations, or even simple tools for gardening, children can learn valuable lessons about the world around them. These features encourage exploration and curiosity, key drivers of lifelong learning.

Cubby houses are also excellent tools for social development. They can be hubs for social interaction where kids learn to negotiate, share, and work together. Whether it’s deciding on the day’s play theme or resolving a dispute about who gets to be the captain of the ship, these experiences are invaluable in developing empathy and social skills.

Creating Your Child’s Dream Cubby House

Building a cubby house can be a wonderful project for the whole family.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Safety First: Ensure the structure is stable and materials are safe. Smooth out any sharp edges, and if the house is elevated, secure railings and a sturdy ladder.
  • Let Creativity Lead: Involve your child in the design process. Their imaginative ideas can lead to unique features that make the cubby house truly theirs.
  • Consider the Location: Place the cubby house in a spot that’s easily visible from the house but also immersed in the garden. Proximity to trees, flowers, and shrubs can enhance the sense of adventure.
  • Think Long-Term: Children grow quickly, so consider a design that can evolve with them. Modular cubby houses that allow for expansions or modifications can extend the life of the playhouse.

The Community Aspect of Cubby Houses

Cubby houses have the power to bring communities together. Neighbourhood cubby house competitions or shared community garden cubbies can foster a sense of togetherness and shared pride. These initiatives not only create communal spaces for play but also teach children the value of community and collective care for shared spaces.

The Cubby Houses Await!

Cubby houses represent a world of wonder for kids, offering endless possibilities for play, learning, and growth. They are microcosms of creativity, where the simplest structures can become castles, spaceships, or secret headquarters in the eyes of a child.

Beyond their immediate joy and entertainment value, cubby houses play a crucial role in childhood development, encouraging independence, social skills, and a connection with nature.

As we design and build these special spaces, we’re reminded of the importance of play in a child’s life—not just for fun, but as a fundamental part of learning about the world and themselves.

In the end, the greatest gift we can give our children is the space and freedom to explore, imagine, and dream. And perhaps, in the process of creating these magical garden retreats, we rediscover a bit of our own childhood wonder along the way.

 

For more gardening news, click here.

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Casino Beef Week

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

Casino, 8/4/2024 – Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM. This year’s event is set to surpass all expectations, encapsulating the essence of country life in a morning filled with fun, food, and festivity.

Thanks to the generous support of The MJ Smith Group, our 2024 Major Sponsor, the annual Free Community Breakfast will offer attendees a delightful taste of the local life with complimentary sausage or steak sandwiches, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit, generously donated by Woolworths Casino. This partnership exemplifies The MJ Smith Group’s deep commitment to the local community, showcasing a shared passion for uniting and enriching our region.

Brody Lisha, President of Casino Beef Week, expressed his enthusiasm about the event: “We are overjoyed to have The MJ Smith Group as our Major Sponsor this year. Their dedication to the community mirrors our mission to celebrate our country life and bring people together. This event is more than just a breakfast; it’s a showcase of what makes our community so vibrant and unique.”

Casino NSW_Breakfast_with_the_Butchers

Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM.

The event will feature an impressive display of machinery, allowing attendees to witness the remarkable work of The MJ Smith Group firsthand. “Seeing the machinery up close is a testament to the innovation and hard work that drives our local industries. It’s an honour to highlight this aspect of our community at the event,” said Lisha.

Adding to the excitement, the annual Richmond Dairies Cow Pat Lotto, presented by Bently Community Preschool, returns with a larger prize pool thanks to Richmond Dairies and Macdonalds Pharmacy. “The Cow Pat Lotto is a tradition that everyone looks forward to. It’s a fun, quirky way to engage with the community while supporting a great cause,” Lisha remarked.

Butchers from the region will compete in the Verto Sausage Competition, aiming for the titles of Best Beef Sausage and Best Gourmet Sausage. Lisha commented, “Our local butchers are incredibly talented, and this competition is a fantastic way to showcase their skills and the quality of our local produce.”

The day will also feature live entertainment from Sam Handford and the grand finale of the CiCom Busking Championships on the Jack Links Stage. “The talent we have in our community is astounding, and the Jack Links Stage is the perfect platform to showcase it. It’s going to be an unforgettable day,” Lisha added.

Casino Beef Week invites everyone to join in celebrating our country life, embodying the community spirit that makes our region so special. Don’t miss this outstanding day of free food, fantastic entertainment, and family-friendly fun.

The Breakfast will be lived streamed via ZZZFM and 2LM.

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Entertainment

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

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Earth Frequency Festival 2024

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

 

Earth Frequency Festival is a music, arts, lifestyle and environmental festival based in South-East Queensland, Australia, with a strong focus on arts, education, healing and community spirit.

While drawing from many cultural niches such as transformational festival, tribal gathering, doof and boutique festival, the aim of Earth Frequency Festival is to go beyond these traditional tags and to exist as a multi-faceted gathering focused broadly on creativity, connection, intention and inspiration.

From it’s origins as a small landcare party in 2005, Earth Frequency has now become one of Australia’s foremost transformational gatherings.

At Earth Frequency, you can always expect an amazing mixture of live and electronic music, performance, visionary art, workshops and lectures, a family and kids space, a fantastic food and markets area, and of course a positive community vibe.

Our aim is to create nothing short of a life changing, transformative experience! We aim to provide a meeting place – people from many different backgrounds, ages and walks of life come together with the shared interests of music, nature, technology, culture and peace.

Earth Frequency Festival is held each year at Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events in Peak Crossing. Ivory’s Rock is a beautiful outdoor venue with top notch facilities, comfortable campgrounds, and it is conveniently located under an hour from Brisbane and just 20 minutes from Ipswich.

Nurtured by the setting of the beautiful Australian outdoors, we gather together once a year to celebrate life with music, art and other creative forms, and to educate, connect, heal and inspire.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: May 3-6
  • Where: Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events, Peak Crossing.
  • Price: From $280
  • Tickets: www.earthfrequency.com.au

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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