Sunday, 21 June 2009

Green Pioneers: Home heating that’s a fridge in reverse

The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009

Tony Mullins, chairman of the manufacturer Calorex

THERE is enough energy in Britain’s damp air to heat our homes cheaply and sustainably, argues one company boss determined to exploit the inclement weather.
“The air in Britain could be regarded as a natural resource,” said Tony Mullins, chairman of an Essex company which makes a heat pump that works like a fridge in reverse, extracting heat from the ground or the air. “There’s a surprising amount of energy in our moist and temperate maritime climate,” he said. “Even at -15C there’s energy in the air. In fact, a heat pump can still operate at -20C.”
Unlike the Continent, Britain has been slow to exploit heat-pump technology. Last year France and Germany installed 300,000 heat pumps between them while the UK put in about 3,000, said Mullins. “In Sweden 90% of new homes have heat pumps. Britain is five to six years behind much of the rest of Europe.”
Employing more heat pumps, which run on electricity rather than gas and are much more efficient than a typical boiler, could slash energy use and carbon emissions by the margin demanded by ambitious carbon-dioxide reduction targets, he said.
“Domestic energy requirements account for 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions and the biggest part of that is heating your home.”
The technology behind heat pumps is straightforward.
They concentrate heat from a network of underground pipes or from a fan and then draw it over a heat exchanger. The heat is then transferred to radiators and hot-water cylinders.
Historically, heat pumps were an economical way to heat swimming pools. Today they are being installed in schools, nursing homes and new housing developments.
Although ground-source heat pumps are slightly more efficient, they require a large hole to be dug or drilled and cost almost twice as much to install.
Thus air-source heat pumps, which look much like air-conditioning units, offer the greatest potential for widespread use in Britain, said Mullins.
“There are about 20m homes in the UK. Less than 200,000 new ones are built each year so we are stuck with our old housing stock for the foreseeable future,” he said. “This is new technology that works and that can solve the problem of our time, which is how to have a zero-carbon home.”
However, heat-pump technology can only provide carbon-free home heating if the electricity powering it is generated through renewable means. Yet it is a more realistic option than solar power or domestic-scale combined heat and power units, said Mullins.
“There’s no saying what technology might be available in the future, but right now the only way to achieve zero-carbon heating for significant numbers of homes is through heat pumps that are supplied with renewably generated electricity,” he said.
Despite slow adoption to date, heat-pump sales have started growing in the past two years. In Britain, Calorex sells ground-source heat pumps to the likes of Persimmon, the house builder, for use in new developments and has a partnership with Eon to install its technology to help households that have no access to gas.
Yet Calorex’s domestic sales make up only 5% of its £20m turnover and it exports most of its units and sells its air-source technology to hotel groups in the Far East. They heat water with it.
One of the barriers is the cost. Paying for and installing an air-source pump capable of heating an average British home costs about £6,000, although government grants can cut that by £900.
“I’m not advocating that everyone should tear out their gas boilers tomorrow, but the economic argument is becoming stronger as every day goes by,” said Mullins.
Europe will soon be installing 1m heat pumps a year and, as the number of units sold rises, the cost of the hardware will fall, he added.

Greens told no alternative to fossil fuels

The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009
Saudi oil boss says that despite the world push towards greener energy, there is no choice but to rely on fossil fuels
Dominic O'Connell and Jonathan Leake

LISTEN to ministers and green campaigners and you would think that we are on a happy path to greener energy, with renewable sources of power freeing us from reliance on fossil fuels.
It is a pipe dream, according to a leader of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. Abdallah Jum’ah, who stepped down last year as chief executive of Saudi Aram-co, the state-owned oil company, said objective assessment of the world’s energy needs showed renewable resources would provide only a minute share of what was required. Oil, gas and coal would remain the fuels of choice - and there was plenty of oil left, he told the Royal Academy of Engineering last week.
Jum’ah’s words will anger environmentalists, economists and former oil-industry executives who have argued we are near peak oil production, and that it will run out sooner rather than later. Renewable energy will grow at a faster rate than oil, but the supply will remain small, said Jum’ah.
“The volume of new energy supplied by renewables will still be only half of the additional energy provided by oil or by gas and only a fourth of the new energy expected to come from coal,” he said.

Much “renewable” energy was generated by burning wood and other biomass for heating and cooking in the poorest countries – energy use that is “neither environmentally friendly nor efficient”.
“Geothermal, wind and similar renewables account for less than 1% of today’s energy supply, meaning breakthroughs in efficiency and economic performance, and sizeable investments in infrastructure, will be required before they have a large impact. An objective assessment shows they face considerable obstacles.”
While renewables were struggling to get off the ground, the world’s demand for energy would grow quickly. The International Energy Agency forecasts that it will go up 45% by 2030 largely because of demand from emerging economies (see graphic above). Oil and other fossil fuels would have to fill the gap, he said. Reserves were available.
“The world’s endowment (including unconventional sources such as tar sands) is estimated at 15 trillion barrels. Even after more than a century of widespread use, we have consumed only 1 trillion barrels.”
He said oil consumption would rise because there were few alternatives. “Political rhetoric has made people believe there is a solution around the corner but there is not, he said.”
Jeremy Leggett, boss of renewables company Solar-century and chairman of a UK industry taskforce on peak oil, said Jum’ah’s comments were to be expected. “We believe this at our peril. Western economies allowed themselves to be duped by the investment-bank-ing industry, which massively overstated assets, and we cannot make the same mistake with the oil industry.”

Revealed: catalogue of atomic leaks

In a secret health and safety report, the chief nuclear inspector admits Britain's watchdog force is short of experienced staff

Terry Macalister and Rob Edwards
The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

The scale of safety problems inside Britain's nuclear power stations has been revealed for the first time in a secret report obtained by the Observer that shows more than 1,750 leaks, breakdowns or other "events" over the past seven years.
The damning document, written by the government's chief nuclear inspector, Mike Weightman, and released under the Freedom of Information Act, raises serious questions about the dangers of expanding the industry with a new generation of atomic plants. And it came as the managers of the UK's biggest plant, Sellafield, admitted they had finally halted a radioactive leak many believe has been going on for 50 years.
The report discloses that between 2001-08 there were 1,767 safety incidents across Britain's nuclear plants. About half were subsequently judged by inspectors as serious enough "to have had the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system". They were "across all areas of existing nuclear plant", including Sellafield in Cumbria and Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, says Weightman, chief inspector of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII).
In an accident at Sizewell A in Suffolk in January 2007, cooling water leaked from a pond containing highly radioactive spent fuel. The operator was not prosecuted for breaching safety rules, according to the NII's official investigation, partly because NII resources were "stretched".
In May 2007 a manhole at Dounreay in northern Scotland was found to be contaminated with plutonium. A series of other incidents occurred at Sellafield, including a fault with a trap door meant to provide protection from highly radioactive waste in September 2008, and the contamination of five workers at a plutonium fuel plant in January 2007.
A spokesman for Sellafield confirmed last night it had successfully halted the seeping of liquid from a crack in one of four waste tanks that used to process effluent before it was discharged into the Irish Sea. Some local residents say it started half a century ago.
In January, Weightman sent a 37-page report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Marked "restricted", it lays bare the crisis afflicting the regulation of the British nuclear industry.
The NII has had to oversee such problems despite an acute shortage of experienced staff. It admits to being 26 inspectors short of the 192 it needs to regulate existing facilities, and its ratio of inspectors to nuclear plant is a third of the international average and far below that of Mexico, Spain or South Korea.
To assess new reactor designs, Weightman says he needs a further 36 inspectors, to bring the complement up to 228 by 2011. But he has "struggled" to recruit new staff and the "lack of build-up of resources to date" could jeopardise the government's target date of 2017 for deploying new reactors.
Weightman says the NII faces "major challenges" to ensure old nuclear plants are run or dismantled safely at the same time as checking new plants are safe to build because of staff shortages. He proposes possible collaboration with China on assessing new reactor designs, hiring French inspectors on secondment and greater use of third-party contractors.
The HSE wants to streamline the assessment of new reactor designs by waiving certain aspects through a series of "exclusions". A recent consultation document circulated by Kevin Allars, director of new nuclear build generic design assessment at the HSE, suggests allowing reactor designs to be agreed with certain "exclusions" and "conditions" that could be revisited later.
Emma Gibson, senior climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace, has rejected this course of action. In a letter to Allars, she writes: "We do not agree that a regulator should, even in an informal voluntary process, approve any part of the design, 'excluding' features which may be vital to its safety. The risk is that this will bypass or emasculate essential stages in the regulatory process."
The HSE said last night that the NII was continuing to "fulfil its regulatory duties" and was upping the number of inspectors and bringing in appropriately experienced technical support contractors to increase regulatory resources.
"The UK approach to nuclear safety regulation is different to most countries. Rather than employing large numbers of staff to set regulations for the industry to comply with, NII sets general targets for the industry (reducing risks as low as reasonably practicable) which it then regulates through ... issuing licences with strict safety conditions attached."
It said the proposed use of exclusions was no different from the proportionate approach NII had always taken with its regulation of new projects.
But it is not only environmentalists who have expressed concerns. "Britain's nuclear inspectors are facing serious problems with serious implications," said an independent nuclear engineer, John Large. "Some of these incidents were potentially disastrous. We already have evidence that their staffing crisis is compromising their regulation of nuclear safety. Without a strong and effective regulator, the risk of a large release of radioactivity increases."
But John McNamara, the spokesman for the 175-member Nuclear Industry Association, still argues that the industry's safety record is "second to none". There was a "highly professional and transparent regulatory approach", he said. "A thorough review into nuclear regulatory resourcing as part of the government's policy on delivering new nuclear build is under way.

Here comes the electric car for boy racers

The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009

Ray Hutton

IT is perhaps a sign of the times. An electric-car maker has taken over a showroom in London’s Knightsbridge that once sold Aston Martins and more recently housed a £16,000-a-year supercar club.
The supercar connection is not inappropriate because the building’s occupant is Tesla, the American company whose all-electric Roadster does 125mph, accelerates like a Ferrari, and sells for £94,000.
Tesla recently delivered its 500th zero-emissions sports car in America. Owners include George Clooney, Dustin Hoff-man and Leonardo DiCaprio. The London sales and service centre is its first overseas.
The showroom will be opened this week by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal and a pioneer in space tourism, who describes himself as the “product architect” of the electric-car company. It will coincide with the launch of a special signature edition of the first 250 Tesla Roadsters for Europe.
Tesla has beaten the big car manufacturers to the market with a fully-fledged electric car with high performance and a long range (200 miles) between battery charges. A start-up from the hotbed of electronics, Silicon Valley in California, it took a short cut by using the chassis of the Lotus Elise.
Cars for America are built by Lotus at Hethel, Norfolk, and transported to California for the installation of the 250bhp electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and electronic control system.
Teslas for all European markets will be supplied complete from Lotus but, initially, only in left-hand drive. Several big car makers, that are preparing to launch plug-in electric cars in 2011 and beyond, are scornful of Tesla’s battery system, which instead of using pur-pose-made lithium-ion cells, is made up of no fewer than 6,831 laptop batteries. Charging the batteries takes 16 hours from a 13-amp household electricity supply.
Daimler, the maker of Mer-cedes-Benz cars, is not among Tesla’s detractors, having taken a 10% stake. The companies have been working together since early last year to adapt the battery system for a pilot electric Smart car that will appear later this year. Mercedes will start series production of electric Smart and Mercedes models in 2012.
Next year, Tesla will offer British buyers a cheaper base model Roadster and a faster Roadster Sport with a 300bhp electric motor. A second model, the Tesla S, a four-door electric coupé designed from scratch and built in America, is scheduled for 2011.
Larger production – 20,000 cars a year – and improvements in battery efficiency and cost, should bring down the price of the S model to nearer £40,000.
From 2011, the British government has pledged to subsi-dise the purchase of an electric car by up to £5,000. By then, Tesla will have competition from some of the biggest names in motoring, but today, the Roadster stands alone as an electric car suitable for more than town use and commuting and has the bonus of enthusiast appeal.
So boy racers can go green – if they can afford it.

Goldsmith’s green fund

BEN GOLDSMITH, son of the late entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith, is behind an environmental sustainability fund launching this week. WHEB Asset Management has raised £10m from a small investor base, including the Goldsmith family, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, and Aviva’s fund-management arm. Goldsmith, whose brother Zac advises the Tories on the green economy, hopes to grow the fund to £50m

National Grid to link executive pay to carbon targets

The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009

Jenny Davey

NATIONAL GRID is planning to add environmental targets to the criteria for its executive bonus scheme.
Final details are still being drawn up but, in principle, 5% of the executive directors’ annual bonuses will be linked to green targets.
The company is carrying out a detailed audit on each of its businesses to establish what their emissions are, where they come from, and how they are measured.
Once the latest audit is completed this summer, National Grid will be able to set new car-bon-reduction targets that will be used as one of the criteria for the bonus scheme.
The aim is to produce annual and five-year targets measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide for each business.
These figures will then be integrated into the performance targets alongside customer service, reliability, operation-al and financial measures.
National Grid believes the move will help to drive a culture change in the company and to put green issues at the heart of the way it does business.
A spokeswoman said: “Minimising the impact on the environment and delivering safe, secure and economic supplies of energy to our customers is paramount to National Grid so we believe this is the right thing to do.”
The company has already set itself a long-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and has an intermediate target to cut emissions 45% by 2020. The group is introducing low-emission vehicles for its fleets, developing low-carbon design features for its asset replacement programmes and incorporating carbon targets into its investment criteria.
Steve Holliday, the chief executive, is eager for National Grid to be seen as a leader in environmental matters. The company has teamed up with the World Wide Fund for Nature to seek its feedback on the group’s climate-change policies.
Holliday is not alone in his environmental initiatives. Deloitte said that six FTSE 100 companies, including Petrofac, Centrica, United Utilities and Carnival, had green targets as part of their pay schemes. At least a further four FTSE 250 companies also had green targets.
Carol Arrowsmith, pay consultant at Deloitte, said that she believed more companies would start to link their executive pay schemes to the quality of their business by using criteria such as environmental targets.
This approach was valid because mistakes in these areas could seriously damage long-term shareholder value, she added.
“Being green is becoming part of their licence to trade for some companies,” she said. “Being a good corporate citizen for some of the oil and energy companies has become a bit like health and safety. It is not because it is a nice thing to do, it is a necessary thing to do to be accepted.”
In America, executives have been building climate-change targets into their bonuses for some time.
A study last year of S&P 500 companies showed that93 of 321 respondents - or nearly 29% - had begun building environmental responsibility and climate awareness into executive incentives.
Half of the responding companies in the utilities sector have incentives tied to environmental goals.
THE annual report hitting the doormat of investors could become a thing of the past - National Grid wants them to access its latest results online. Shareholders will no longer get the full paper version automatically. The Grid reckons if it sends out only a short summary version, it could save 150 tonnes of paper a year - equivalent to 2,550 trees.

Ecologists’ own goal: ozone saver is global warmer

The Sunday Times
June 21, 2009
Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor

THE green movement’s greatest triumph – the abolition of ozone-destroying CFC gases in the 1980s – may become its biggest embarrassment because of research showing that their replacements are sharply accelerating global warming.
CFC, or chlorofluorocarbon, gases were widely deployed in air-conditioning and refrigeration units before they were found to destroy the ozone layer and banned under the 1987 Montreal protocol.
They were replaced by HFCs – hydrofluorocarbons – gases that have far less effect on ozone but have since been revealed as extremely powerful greenhouse gases.
A ton of HFC23 used in refrigeration has the same global warming potential as 14,800 . tons of CO2 A ton of HFC-134a, widely used in vehicle air-conditioning units, is equivalent to 1,430 tons of CO2. The problem has been increased by the rising demand for refrigeration and air-conditioning because of economic expansion and population growth in Asia.

A study out this week will warn that, by 2050, HFCs could account for up to 19% of global warming. “By 2050, the contribution of HFCs to global warming will be more than that of current global CO2 emissions from houses and office buildings,” said Guus Velders of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, who did the research.
“The contribution of HFCs to global warming is currently small, but can increase to between 9% and 19% of the total contribution by 2050.” CO2 He found that by 2050 the demand for HFCs was likely to have increased by 800% compared with today’s figures.
A separate study by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a campaign group, found that the biggest source of HFC emissions entering the atmosphere was air-conditioning in vehicles. Large amounts are also released in the manufacture of insulating foam used to make buildings more energy efficient.
Commercial refrigeration, including shop, restaurant and hotel chiller cabinets, are another big source.
The problem with air-conditioning and refrigeration units is that they leak the HFC cool-ants into the air, with about 30% lost each year. This means that HFC production has to rise to keep pace with new units and losses from existing ones.
The EIA said: “Atmospheric concentrations of hydrofluorocarbons are rising at about 15% per year, faster than any of the other [main] greenhouse gases, even though there are viable alternatives available that do much less damage.”
In 2005, global production of HFCs was estimated at 280,000 tons, roughly equivalent to half a billion tons of CO2 governmental Panel on Climate Change predicts this will rise to the equivalent of 1.2 bil by 2015. lion tons of CO2 Tony Juniper, the former director of Friends of the Earth, who was involved in campaigning against CFCs in the 1980s and 1990s, said industry had long known about the global warming threat from HFCs.
“We did not know so much about HFCs back in the 1980s,” he said. “But the evidence about them has been around since the 1990s and that should have given policy makers and business time to replace them too.
“The Montreal treaty was still a triumph in avoiding an ecological catastrophe that would have followed the loss of the ozone layer. Now we need to use that experience to avoid the threat of destruction from global warming.”

Obama's climate change silence

The new report on the effects of global warming makes it clear we need to act. But a bill won't pass without a push from Obama

Kate Sheppard, Saturday 20 June 2009 17.00 BST

The top scientific advisers in the Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled a startling new report on what the latest climate science tells us is both already happening and likely to happen in the near future if planet-warming emissions continue unhindered. The report is astounding – in the foreseeable future, the United States could witness the submersion of the Florida Keys, up to 100 days of more-than-100-degree heat in places like Texas and the end of a domestic maple syrup industry.
For those who were paying attention, these were shocking findings. But it's not quite clear who, if anyone, is actually paying attention. Obama himself has been notably absent from the conversation, when his attention is likely the only voice that could move this issue forward.
The report was delivered not-so-coincidentally just one week before the House is expected to take up floor debate on the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the comprehensive climate and energy bill put forward by Democratic representatives Henry Waxman and Ed Markey. The bill's authors have been struggling to make a deal with representatives from agricultural states and moderates who have threatened to torpedo the bill if changes are not made.
Enter the White House – or at least Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration, and John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. The two hosted a big roll out of the report on Tuesday in the Eisenhower Executive Office building, bringing the authors together to discuss their findings. It's clear that they hope this report will make a splash in Congress. The authors have held briefings on the Hill throughout the week.
"This report is a game-changer," said Lubchenco. "I think that much of the foot-dragging in addressing climate change is a reflection of the perception that climate change is way down the road, it's in the future and it only affects certain parts of the country. This report demonstrates in concrete scientific information that climate change happening now, and it's happening in our backyards."
They were clear though that the report isn't a policy prescription. "This report is not about a particular policy or a particular piece of legislation," said Holdren. "It is about the science telling us with ever greater clarity and persuasiveness why we need to act sooner rather than later." This is probably the right stance for Holdren and Lubchenco, who are tasked with guarding scientific integrity in the administration, and who are not in practice or by trade politicians.
The problem with this, though, is that the key political figure who should be out front on this has been absent. Obama, the single greatest spokesperson one could hope to have behind an issue, has been checked out when it comes to climate and energy policy, despite listing it as one of his top three concerns.
Instead, as Obama's science team was unveiling this major report, his fans received an e-mail dispatch via rallying supporters on healthcare. And at that day's White House press briefing, climate change and energy did not come up a single time. There has been not a peep from Obama or other high-level officials to date on these findings. And while he hosted a meeting with swing Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee last month, it's been clear all along that he wants to let Congress hash out a deal on its own, rather than laying out his framework for action – entirely unlike healthcare, where the team has drawn clear bright lines on what Congress needs to do.
Meanwhile, what Congress has come up with on climate is a far cry from what Obama called for on the campaign trail. The target for 2020 emissions reductions in the bill currently under debate in the House is lower than what Obama called for on the campaign trail. His call for 100% auction of pollution permits has been almost completely disregarded, with the vast majority to be distributed free of charge under the House bill. He has also called for a doubling in the use of renewable energy – and the House bill includes a renewable electricity standard that industry representatives say won't get them anywhere near that goal.
And when Obama does talk about climate change, it's often in terms of a vague threat to the planet – with little discussion of the potential domestic consequences that the new report highlights so vividly. Most often, though, it's climate and energy policy is discussed simply as a way to grow a green economy, create new jobs and lessen dependence on foreign oil. There's little discussion of the actual environmental calamity that could occur in the absence of action, which at the heart of it is what these policies are supposed to address.
At the big unveiling of the climate report, I talked to Rick Piltz, who was a senior associate with the US Global Change Research Program for 10 years before leaving in March 2005 amid Bush-era censorship of climate reports. He raised exactly this point.
"So far the White House has adopted a messaging strategy on climate that very heavily emphasises green jobs and clean energy, which is crucial, but that doesn't have much of a vocabulary for impacts," said Piltz, who now runs Climate Science Watch. "It seems to me that you're really taking one of your weapons off the table if you never talk about why it's so important to do something [about climate change]. What are the consequences of not doing something?"
The reality is that the House bill is not as strong as the science says is needed to avert real crisis, though it's probably the best bill that they can come up with through the legislative process. Obama, however, could make use of his bully pulpit to affirm the need not just for action, but action that meets the crisis his science team has laid out. Without explicit discussion of these needs from the president himself, few are paying attention at all.
The White House is rumoured to be planning a week of events next week focused on the need for energy legislation, though there are no details on that yet. Let's hope that the week involves both participation from Obama himself, and some real discussion of climate change – for the sake of the Keys, Texas and maple syrup, not to mention all of us.

Is eating soya causing damage to the planet?

Growing soybeans has serious eco consequences - but they're not what you may think. Time to spill the beans, says Lucy Siegle

Lucy Siegle
The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

A number of upset vegetarians and vegans have been in touch to say they've been accused by acquaintances of causing planetary damage through their tofu and soya-milk consumption, given that soya production has become synonymous with deforestation.
The first thing I should do is to explain that although Europe imports 39m tonnes of soya a year (imagine it contained in 15 miles' worth of lorries bumper to bumper), 90% is destined for animal feed. It's beef rather than veggie burgers that ate all the soybean. Secondly, at least tofu (soybean curd) allows you to source dietary protein directly from a vegetarian food. By contrast it takes 8-16lb of soybeans to produce 1lb of beef, which is spectacularly inefficient. Hardly a snappy riposte, but it should do the job.
This is a pyrrhic victory, because we're all increasingly dependent on the global soya crop. There's even pressure to expand soya production into the bioenergy sector. Globally, over the past two decades 300m hectares of tropical forests have been felled thanks to the soya model. Meanwhile, in Brazil alone, soya cultivation occupies 20.5m ha (in 1940 just 704ha). How much more can the planet sustain?
Precisely the question the Round Table on Responsible Soya Association ( is attempting to answer. This is where transnational growers, producers and traders such as Unilever, Monsanto and Carrefour meet to set out conditions for soya expansion that won't wreak havoc on ecosystems, biodiversity or land rights. How is this progressing? Well, judging by the letter of no confidence that has greeted the round table's recent programme - which included GM soya as part of the sustainable solution ( and was signed by major environmental groups including the UK Soil Association - not too well. This is not farming as the storybooks tell it. Power is channelled into the arms of soya kings (the new oil barons) and transnational agribusiness. These are vast monocultures with just a few workers per 1,000ha to apply sprays to a crop that kills biodiversity and contributes to soil erosion.
The one thing you can take responsibility for is your own soya consumption. The US Cornicopia Institute recently published Behind the Bean, a not very cheery look at the soya protein industry, but one with a useful scorecard for products ( It found that "natural" soya products are often processed using hexane, a neurotoxin petrochemical solvent. So it pays to go for organic soya. Next, discover where manufacturers source their soya. You're looking for GM-free that is not extracted from rainforest regions and grown as part of a crop-rotation system ( products give these assurances). Much of the soya crop is wasted, as oil is extracted from the bean for export and the husk discarded. So we should also ask manufacturers: do you take the whole bean and nothing but the bean?