Consumer & Gadgets

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Installing a backup power supply: Electrical engineers answer your questions

South Africa’s electricity utility Eskom has made it clear that “loadshedding”—rolling scheduled power cuts—isn’t going to end any time soon. This reality, and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during his annual state of the nation speech on 9 February 2023 that tax incentives for solar power use are imminent, mean that many people are considering alternative electricity supply systems for their homes.

Future home havens: Australians likely to use more energy to stay in and save money

Soaring energy costs are a major factor in Australia’s cost-of-living crisis. The conventional wisdom is people will reduce their energy use in response to rising prices—and this may be the case for the most vulnerable households. However, our research published today suggests rising costs of living are more likely to increase household energy use as people economize by doing more at home.

Bio-based plastics gain consumer favor over fossil fuels

When it comes to enhancing the sustainability of plastic beverage bottles, consumers are willing to pay a bonus for bio-based alternatives—the more so when the alternative is visually distinctive. This follows from research by Ph.D. candidate Maria Zwicker as part of the RIBIPOL project where novel rigid bio-based polyesters are being developed for potential large scale applications, such as beverage bottles. Her findings have been published in the January issue of the journal Sustainable Production and Consumption.