What we learned this week

Readers in Scotland might want to take note of the Take One Action film festival going on at the moment in a number of cities. With the tagline ‘see the change you want to be in the world’, they have a great line-up of inspiring films, and them are some to watch online too for those of us who can’t get along in person.

Well done California for signing into law a pledge for 100% clean electricity by 2045, the second state after Hawaii to announce a zero-carbon target.

This week I’ve been listening to the Mothers of Invention podcast while doing the housework. Former Irish PM Mary Robinson and comedienne Maeve Higgins talk to women environmental activists and it’s very good indeed.

With a general interest in air pollution, I keep reading about Airlite paint. It claims to reduce pollution and keeps getting independent verification and certification to say it works, but I don’t understand what it actually does. Can anyone explain it to me?

More evidence that the Hinckley Point nuclear plant was a massive giveaway to the industry – the government can’t afford to do it again in Cumbria, and so the company that was set to build it has practically collapsed.

This week I read the AP news app, which only has a handful of stories a day and is a simple way to get the most important global news stories at a glance. This week I’m looking for a Carribean perspective, and will read the Jamaica Gleaner, Barbados Nation, and if I get time I may visit Cuba’s official communist news source Granma.


  1. I found the following – probably the key info is in Bernardoni’s patents. I think you’re right to think he has good technical and commercial track record.

    Click to access mol_smart_london_showcase_programme_web_for_gla.pdf

    “Mr. Bernardoni (CTO) has more than 30 years industry experience in building materials and product development. He began to develop products based on the properties of TiO2 in the early 2000s, and together with Italcementi in 2003 he developed a paint based on the photo-catalytic active TX, which was listed by Time among the 50 most relevant innovations of the year.”
    (I’m guessing that ‘TX’ is titanium dioxide)

    View at Medium.com
    uses photocatalytic TiO₂, but apparently longer lasting than other such applications (perhaps through being part of an inorganic powder formulation, which also reduces/eliminates volatiles in application and service, and also may help breathability through having greater controlled porosity – I’m speculating here).

    Massimo Bernardoni’s patents are here:
    Titanium dioxide works by acting as a catalyst (in the presence of sunlight) to break down oxygen and water into reactive fragments (‘free radicals’). These in turn break down other organic pollutant molecules, and also make surfaces super-hydrophilic so water forms a continuous film that washes off contaminants. For more detail see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-cleaning_surfaces#Superhydrophilic
    I guess that the free radicals would also be good for killing biological things like fungi.

      1. I think he’s claiming it uses titiania particles’ photocatalytic and self-cleaning behaviours, in a way that ordinary paint whiteners (presumably?) don’t, and with less degradation over time than other self-cleaning surfaces. Perhaps something to do with how he’s formulated it as a mineral powder product. I didn’t find any further justification in my short search (and I’m doubtful Bernardoni’s keen to share alll the key details) – however the fact that he obtained those patents suggests he did some new things. Ultimately it would come down to actual performance tests, in which case we mightn’t know any better how it works, but just know it’s effective.

  2. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for all the interesting content, I’ve been reading for a while and always enjoy your posts.

    You probably know of this already but I don’t recall hearing of it on your blog so, just in case you haven’t, please find the latest Zero Carbon Britain report attached – I’ve spent the last week at The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales which is involved in creating the report.

    Having heard an awful lot of doom and gloom on the opening module to the MSc Sustainability and Adaptation course it was reassuring to hear of some viable plans to reduce our impact and address some of the problems we face.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best regards, Adam


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