News and Notes

Antwerp, Tempe and Tokyo Take Lead Roles


Antwerp, an oasis for the urban cyclist.

Tempe (Arizona), home to Arizona State University, college football power and also the university with the most solar power.

Tokyo, host of the 2020 Summer Olympics at which sustainable, bio-based aviation fuel will be tested.

Yes, we here at GreenSportsBlog are spanning the world, bringing you the constant variety of the Green-Sports intersection* in this week’s News and Notes post.


Bike share and expanded bike lanes have become standard fare in many US cities over the last decade, all in an effort to increase the number bicycle commuters, lessen the number of cars coming into the city center, and reduce carbon emissions. While early returns are encouraging, US cities have a long, long way to go to come close to becoming the cycling haven that is Antwerp, Belgium.
In “Antwerp, a  City Where Everyone Cycles”, which appeared in the July 6 issue of Sustainable Cities Collective, Mark K. Ames was simply over the moon about the friendliness and innovativeness, cycling-wise, of Belgium’s 2nd largest city:

  • Bike lanes are omnipresent, even on heavily trafficked roads on which cars travel at high speeds.
  • The St. Anna Tunnel under the River Scheldt accommodates bicycles (that would be a great retrofit for New York City’s Lincoln and/or Holland Tunnels) in specially designed and easily accessed escalators.
  • Antwerp’s central train station features a large, secure bike parking lot and a bike mechanic’s shop.
  • The more modern Berchem Station has a huge bicycle parking lot
  • Vehicular traffic is largely respectful of those using two wheels to get around


St. Anna Tunnel

Cyclists travel under the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium via the St. Anna Tunnel, just one example of the city’s bike friendliness. (Photo Credit:


Berchem Station

Rows and rows of bicycles parked at Berchem Station in Antwerp. (Photo Credit; Mark Ames)


Urban planners will no doubt study Antwerp, if they haven’t already, as they work to make urban bicycle transit easier, safer, and simpler. This is an imperative as the world’s population rises from 7.2 to 9 billion by 2050, becomes more urbanized and as carbon emissions are constrained.


The Arizona State Sun Devils football team enjoyed a solid 2014 campaign, with some bad (a loss to in-state rival Arizona), and lots of good (a 10-3 record which included a road win vs. USC, a thumping of Notre Dame at home and a win over Duke in the Sun Bowl.)

But the football team’s performance is downright pedestrian when compared to the Tempe, AZ university’s stellar performance in terms of installed solar power capacity. In fact, ASU easily garnered the top spot in the nation among colleges for installed solar, according to “Which Campuses Take the Cake on Solar Energy,” an April, 2015 article in Energy Digital magazine by Kevin Smead.

The story ranks the Top 10 colleges and universities in the US by megawatts of solar installed. ASU’s portfolio of solar “is huge,” says Smead, “…it has 86 installations on four campuses and the ASU research park.” Its 23,500+ kW watts of solar easily beats 2nd place Rutgers University (my alma mater!) in New Brunswick and Piscataway, NJ, one of only 2 east coast schools, along with Mount St. Mary’s in Baltimore, on the list. RU has 17,400+ kW installed.


Wells Fargo Arena

Aerial view of the solar array atop the roof of Wells Fargo Arena, home of Arizona State University basketball. (Photo credit: Solarfeeds)


Other Division I schools making the Solar Top 10 include #5 Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO (6,000 kW, installed in 2011 with funding largely coming from of the 2009 federal stimulus program), #6 Colorado State University in Fort Collins (5,500 kW, “it now houses the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion, a Materials Engineering Lab focused on [photovoltaic] technology”), and #10 University of Arizona in Tucson (4,400 kW).

Looking ahead to 2015, I’m sure ASU’s fan base is chomping at the bit to beat Arizona on the football field (they host their in-state rivals on November 21st). I’m also sure that, if they know about it, the fans would also like to see ASU increase its lead in terms of solar power installed. Here’s wishing them the best of luck vs. the Wildcats in football–but not vs. Rutgers in solar!


When fans fly to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo they will do so on planes powered, in part, by aviation biofuel. So says Mike Hower in “Boeing Developing Sustainable Aviation Fuels for 2020 Olympics in Japan” which ran in the July 13th issue of Sustainable Brands.

Boeing is part of a consortium of 46 entities, including All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines (JAL), Japan’s central government and the University of Tokyo, working on a roadmap to “develop biofuel by 2020 as a way to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.” The 2020 Olympics, with its high profile and its masses of foreign air travelers, expected to number in the millions, is the ideal platform through which to promote and implement bio-based aviation fuels.

Feedstocks that could be used to produce the aviation biofuel for flights to and from the Tokyo Olympics include “municipal solid waste, plant oils and animal fats, used cooking oil, algae, cellulosic biomass and residues from the wood products industry.” It is expected that government support (read: subsidies) will be needed to make aviation biofuels viable by the 2020 Games as the technology will still be early in its life cycle by that point.



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