Categories
Materials Mobility

321: RIKR backpacki

Problem:

There is so much plastic waste recuperated from landfills, waterways and oceans that as many ways as possible must be found to recycle it profitably.

Solution:

Backpacks from recycled plastic.


Sisters Georgia, Nina and Sophia Scott share a lifetime of travel experience, and have lived and worked all over the world. Georgia and Sophia have more than a decade of experience with their documentary film company GroundTruth Productions, working across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East put them in direct contact with a range of extreme environments – from drought in East Africa to conflict in the Middle East. These experiences sparked their drive to create a company that could effect positive, meaningful change.

In 2017, working with a specialist textile mill in Taiwan, the Scott sisters developed a high-performance GT-RK-001 textile from 100% recycled PET, using plastic waste collected from landfill sites, waterways and oceans worldwide.

With a 600 denier ballistic yarn structure for premium strength combining three layers of recycled synthetic fibres, a unique triangular ripstop weave, and a water-repellant TPU coating, it offers unparalleled durability and resistance to the elements.

Groundtruth created the RIKR backpack (equivalent to 120 recycled plastic bottles), following with other items from laptop bags to key chains, all of which respond to the demands of a new era of global travel.

Working with bluesign®-approved manufacturers, Groundtruth has also partnered with REDD+ Conservation Company Wildlife Works to guarantee emission-free production and offset the carbon footprint of the company’s travel emissions.

Polar explorer Rob Swan, the first person to walk to both Poles, has been putting the RIKR backpack to the test in the South Pole Energy Challenge where it must survive in conditions of -40C. Swan takes great care and caution when choosing his expedition equipment as at times it can mean life or death.

What you can do: Purchase items from Groundtruth

Discover Solution 322: Smart textile, Radiative heat transfer

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Categories
Mobility Energy

308: Retrofitting vehicles to electric propulsion

Problem:

According to Oliver Wyman of Lux Research electric vehicles are 45% more expensive to build than their internal combustion engined equivalents.

Solution:

During the 1980s, many individuals retrofitted their gasoline automobiles to electric propulsion despite being held back by batteries with feeble autonomy.

In 1966, Daniel Theobald Cambridge, Massachusetts bought a 1966 VW camper off Craigslist, converted it to electric power in an afternoon and started re-engineering the vehicle for solar power.

Among them was Randy Holmquist of Errington, a small Vancouver Island community in British Columbia, Canada. In 1995 Holmquist set up Canadian Electric Vehicles (CEV) with the initial focus to provide the designs and parts for converting gas vehicles to non-polluting electric.

In 2000 Canadian Electric Vehicles was approached by Los Angeles airport to design and build an electric powered aircraft refueling truck. Over 70 of these three ton trucks have been converted and are in use at airports in in US, Dubai, Puerto Rico, Australia and in 2009 England. In 2012, CEV innovated a kit to convert Ford Ranger fleet vehicles to electric which was received by both municipal and private fleet operators in BC.

Today, across the border, there are some thirteen Electric Vehicle Conversion Companies

Across the Atlantic, in Newton, mid-Wales, Richard “Moggy” Morgan and Graham Swann e-retrofit models from the 1960s or 1970s including the iconic VW Beetle and its derivatives

Since 1954, it had been impossible to change a car engine in France, even to put an electric, batteries and thus drive every day with much less pollution. But on April 6th 2020, the French government published a ministerial decree that creates a legal framework for electric car conversions. ICE cars, buses, and trucks over five years old, and two and three-wheelers over three years old can now be retrofitted with an electric powertrain

This was largely due to lobbying by Retrofuture of Paris, who have “electrified” such vehicles an Austin Mini, a Peugeot 504 or a Jaguar XJ. With batteries today, but with hydrogen tomorrow, Marc Tison and Arnaud Pigounides are accompanying the revolution in ecological and economic mobility

Discover Solution 309: Shaded farming aka Agrophotovoltaics

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Categories
Energy Mobility

301: Pedelec, electric-assisted bicycle

Problem:

The millions of tons of CO₂ hourly produced by diesel/gasoline engined transport needs to be reduced.

Solution:

Whilst millions of people pedal bicycles, some wish for a little more power. The electrically assisted bicycle meets this requirement and there are at least 40 million such e-two wheelers in use around the Planet.


Manufacturers include A2B Bicycles, Airwheel, Beistegui Hermanos, Gocycle, Italjet, Mahindra GenZe, Pedego Electric Bikes, F-wheel DYU, Fuji-Ta, Riese und Müller, Superpedestrian, SwagCycle alongside innumerable Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers.

Commercially manufactured e-bicycles have been in use since the early 1990s, although the arrival of the longer-range li-ion battery from 2007 increased the popularity of the pedelec. The choice ranges from the simple street scooter to the more muscular 2kW models where riders must show a number plate and are advised to wear a helmet.

Since the COVID19 pandemic, given the need for social distancing, the use of pedelecs has been encouraged by Governments and Municipalities.

What you can do: Drive a pedelec.

Discover Solution 302: Reforestation sponsored by search engine

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Categories
Planet Care Materials Mobility

271: OEOO (One Earth – One Ocean)

Problem:

After fishing plastic waste out of the ocean, it normally has to be shipped back to port and on to a recycling plant.

Solution:

Günter Bolin is a passionate sailor. On his ocean voyages, the Munich-based IT entrepreneur came across ever increasing amounts of plastic waste. He decided to put his IT company to rest and to deal intensively with solving the global plastic waste problem.


In 2011 with Dr. Harald Frank, Erich Groever, Lennart Rölz, Bolin founded the environmental organization One Earth – One Ocean (OEOO). In 2013, One Earth – One Ocean e.V. was awarded the prestigious GreenTec Award 2013, Europe’s largest environmental and business award, for its concept of “marine litter cleanup”.

Since then, from its Kiel and Hamburg bases, OEOO has been developing various types of ships to collect plastic waste from the sea: Since 2012, five 5m x 2 m SeeHamsters developed by OEOO have been sailing in rivers and port areas. These are equipped with a collapsible safety net or safety harness to collect plastic waste from inland waters.

The SeeKuh, a plastic collecting ship measuring 12m × 10 m, has also been in use since 2016. It is used collect the plastic debris and the plastic that is floating up to 4 meters under the surface in coastal regions and estuaries of the Baltic Sea and in Hong Kong.

In 2018 OEOO became an official partner of the UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign. During the past two years, OEOO has been developing the SeeElefant, (= Elephant Seal) a container ship that is designed to take on board the rubbish collected by the hamsters and cows and process, sort, process and, among other things, reprocess it into oil using the system technology integrated in the ship.

Over the past few years OEOO has carried out a feasibility study for this largest ship model; the pilot system is scheduled to start in 2021.

In the future, this vessel will press the finds into single-variety plastic balls that can be processed into new products on land. For the SeeElefant, OEOO received the Federal Ecodesign Award in the “Concept” category in 2019.

With the second generation of the SeeKuh, which is currently under construction, the garbage will be divided into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Organics such as algae and mussels are sorted out and returned to the sea. So far, the recycling garbage has been given unsorted to local recycling companies.

OEOO’s vision is to establish as many systems of collection vehicles and processing vessels as possible, preferably in front of each river mouth. Because when no more rubbish ends up in the sea, it helps a lot. Once it’s drifted into the open sea, it’s actually too late.

What you can do: Reduce your plastic usage.

Discover Solution 272: Algae-based paint

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Categories
Planet Care Carbon Capture Mobility

268: Tree-planting drones

Problem:

Every year, 15 billion trees are destroyed from natural and anthropogenic causes. Despite US$ 50 billion a year spent on replanting, there remains an annual net loss of 6 billion trees. Governments have made commitments to restore 860 million ac (350 million ha) of degraded land, equivalent to an area the size of India, which could accommodate around 300 billion trees, by 2030.

Solution:

Tree-planting drones


Startups have created drone-planting systems that achieve an uptake rate of 75 % and decrease planting costs by 85 %. These systems shoot pods with seeds and plant nutrients into the soil, providing the plant all the nutrients necessary to sustain life. Two companies are using drones to step up the rate of tree-planting: BioCarbon Engineering founded by Lauren Fletcher and DroneSeed, founded by Grant Canary.

During the late 1990s, Lauren E. Fletcher, with a Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering was a space systems engineer at NASA Ames Research Center, specialising in bio engineering. In 2007, he was at the International Space University, then from 2008 to 2010 at Stanford University. From 2010 to 2019 Fletcher was a Doctoral student at Oxford University’s department of Physics on ”Project Mars on Earth.”

In 2009 by while Fletcher was at COP15 in Copenhagen, he became concerned about the state of our world: degrading climate, loss of natural environments, significant biodiversity losses, and a potential for global scale human suffering. After years of studying climate change and the environment, Fletcher asked himself how the damage of more than a century of anthropogenic development could be reversed. The answer, in part, is restoring the planet’s decimated forests, to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation.

In 2013, Fletcher linked up with businessperson Susan Graham with a PhD in healthcare innovation to found the company called BioCarbon Engineering (BCE), based in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, UK, to plant at least 1 billion trees a year with drone swarms. To do this needed a technician.

Enter French drone engineer, Jeremie Leonard. From 2005 to 2007 Leonard studied at the Lycée Marcelin Berthelot, Saint Maur des Fossés, France, then at the Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité, at Gif Sur Yvette, Isle de France.

He then crossed the English Channel to study for his PhD at Cranfield University, between 2011 and 2014, where the aim of his thesis, named “Project Athena”, was to develop a fully autonomous swarm of medium-altitude, long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (MALE UAV) with integrated health management.

Leonard’s work encompassed research on mission planning, multi-agent control and swarm energy management. In 2014 Leonard was recruited by Fletcher to BioCarbon Engineering. The “seed-dropping” system developed by BCE uses satellite and drone-collected data to determine the best location to plant each tree.

The planting drones fire a biodegradable seedpod into the ground with pressurized air at each predetermined position at 120 seedpods per minute. They fly at an altitude of 3 to 7 ft. (1 to 2 m.) above the ground. A small pressurized canister provides the necessary propulsive force for the seedpods to easily penetrate the soil’s surface.

The seedpods are filled with a germinated seed, nutritious hydrogel, and other vital components. The pods break open upon impact allowing the germinated seeds to grow. These penetrate the earth, and, activated by moisture, grow into healthy trees.

Two operators equipped with 10 drones can plant 400,000 trees per day. Just 400 teams could plant 10 billion trees each year, with the capability to scale to tens of billions of trees annually. The fully automated and highly scalable BCE solution plants 150 times faster and 4-10 times cheaper than current methods. This technology provides a new tool enabling global enterprises and governments to meet their restoration commitments.

With initial funding in 2016, a patent “for automated planting” was applied for by Fletcher and his team. BCE began its full commercial operations with the first paid project in May 2017 at abandoned mine sites in Dungog in the Hunter Valey, New South Wales Australia that were in need of reforestation. They have executed nine projects in the UK, Australia, Myanmar, New Zealand, South Africa, and Morocco.

Environmentalists in Myanmar used to plant mangroves by hand. Myanmar has lost at least 2.5 million ac (1 million ha) of mangrove forest over the past several decades, making it more vulnerable to cyclones and climate change. Since 2012, Worldview has been able to plant over six million trees, which is a huge achievement already. However, with the help of the BCE drones, they could plant another four million by the end of 2019. Since the drones began their work in September, the saplings have grown to be 20 in (50 cm) tall.

In April 2018, BCE received a funding boost of US$2.5 million. The seed investment comes from SYSTEMIQ, a purpose-driven investment and advisory firm that aims to tackle economic system failures, and Parrot, the leading European drone group. Work in 2018 will expand to projects in the UAE, Canada, USA, Brazil, Peru, and Spain. Customers include private landholders, companies, non-governmental organisations, and governments.

In May 2018, Jeremie Leonard travelled to Canada to work with the Canadian Forest Service for the first-ever Canadian trial of using drones to plant tree seeds in northern Alberta. That year BCE changed its name to (Dendra Dendra is Greek for tree).

Dendra employs a combination of Wingtra and DJI M600 drones for pre-planting surveys as well as a custom Vulcan UAV for the seed spreading however much of the equipment they’re laden with has yet to be made available commercially.  Dendra’s largest mapping drone can carry up to 22 kilograms of equipment and its sensors can resolve images at 2-3cm per pixel.

This enabled Dendra to plant an additional 4 million mangrove seedlings in 2019 alone.

In September 2020, backing by At One Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Future Positive Capital, and Chris Sacca’s LowerCarbon, Dendra raised $10 million to continue its program whereby just 400 teams of two drone operators, with 10 drones per team, could plant 10 billion trees each year, and at a much lower cost than the traditional method of planting by hand. The target is to plant 500 billion trees by 2060, in often hard-to-reach places. (dendra.io)

Dendra are not alone. DroneSeed based in Seattle, Washington also committed to reforestation efforts, has developed a plan for each planting area that maximises successful planting and tree growth. Understanding the environmental conditions of the site is paramount to successfully replanting the area.

Using Lidar, topographical 3D maps are made, photographs are taken with a multispectral camera to collect visual data, much of it outside of the realm of human detection, which can then be used for an analysis of the plants and soil before any planting can take place.

Using this data, actual planting locations are determined so that each seed package has a much greater chance of survival. With the resulting map, the drones fly autonomously, as many as five at a time, and are supported by a team that is ready to load up the drones and there in case of any setbacks. The drones use machine learning models, setting out to find various ‘microsites’ where the seeds will face better chances of survival. The seeds are pre-packaged into small bundles, filled with nutrients, and covered in the chemical capsaicin to keep hungry creatures at bay. It is this extra attention to detail which improves the odds of each tree’s future success.

After planting, the location is monitored and growth is optimized with fertilizer, herbicide and water, all of which are also applied by the drones. In addition to gathering data needed for planting, drones are also collecting data on growth, canopy cover and other factors which allow the creation of 3D models of the actual reforested area.

DroneSeed founder, Grant Canary M.A. of Seattle, Washington is an environmentalist with a love of outdoor sports. He has spent his entire carrier working within for-profit companies to benefit the environment including Vestas Wind Energy and the US Green Building Council.

He raised US$10 million and built a 60,000 ft² factory to pioneer the commercialization of black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) to treat food waste and produce a sustainable supply of nutrients for sustainable salmon feed and agricultural uses.

He also founded BioSystems LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Enterra, based in Portland, Oregon. At a loss for what to do next in his career and was told by a friend that perhaps he should just go and plant trees.

Realising that tree reforestation needed intensifying, Canary founded DroneSeed. He recruited Matthew M. Aghai as his Director of Biological Research;  John Thomson, a drone systems engineer, responsible for specifying, designing, and manufacturing heavy-lift flight systems and supporting hardware to enable company operations; and Robert A Krob, a software engineer.

They were soon joined by Matt Kunimoto, a drone systems technician who had built a hexacopter drone that uses image recognition to guide its flight autonomously in order to follow a custom pattern.

In 2015, DroneSeed first won the Beaverton, Oregon US$ 100,000 Challenge sponsored by the City of Beaverton and Oregon Technology and Business Center. Shortly after, they were one of the nine startups selected for Techstars Seattle 2016 out of over 1,000 applicants to the program.

With funding from Techstars, Social Capital, and Spero Ventures, to the tune of US$4.8 million, DroneSeed received the FAA’s first approval for up to five aircraft to be flown by a single pilot each carrying a 57 lb. (27 kg.) payload. The FAA classifies this exception as “precedent setting”, referring to the exceptional lengths DroneSeed has gone to prove out its ability to scale operations to larger payloads for multiple concurrent flights. At the time, no other drone operator in the USA could legally operate with such heavy lift aircraft.

The firm works for 3 of the 5 largest timber companies and recently signed a contract with The Nature Conservancy to restore post wildfire burn sites to combat the spread of wildfires and keep affected areas healthy. Their first planting project was in October 2018, replanting after the Grave Creek Fire which burned 2,800 ac (7,000 ha) near Medford, Oregon in 2018.

In 2018, the DroneSeed team was granted Patent N° 10,212,876 for “Aerial deployment planting methods and systems for making good use of recently obtained biometric data and for configuring propagule capsules for deployment via an unmanned vehicle so that each has an improved chance of survival.”

In 2019, following a massive wildfire in southwest Oregon DroneSeed were contracted by Northwest. Hancock Forest Management, a large international forest landowner and the Nature Conservancy Oregon to protect the ecosystem across the Pacific Northwest from invasive species. Drone swarms of up to five aircraft will be deployed to restore rangelands by re-seeding threatened areas, especially in sagebrush steppe habitats. Invasive weed species harm the sagebrush steppe, resulting in a huge swathe of plant loss. In fact, only 50 % of such plants still exist, with the remaining 50 % at risk of being lost in just the next 50 years. (droneseed.com)

NOW, founded by Jessica Jones, enables people to subscribe to support drone reforestation. Working with a nonprofit called Eden Reforestation Projects, the NOW will begin by supporting restoration projects in mangrove forests in Mozambique and Madagascar. But the company also began by planting trees itself using drones, beginning on tribal land near San Diego.

In 2020, Rashid Al Ghurair, founder of the Cafu fuel delivery app launched a mission to plant a million drought-tolerant Ghaf evergreen trees (Prosopis cineraria), across the UAE by drone within the next two years. On January 8th 2020, Al Ghurair dropped 4,000 seeds over 10,000 m² in pilot project in Sharjah Dubai If successful the project could be outsourced to wildfire affected regions like Australia and the Amazon. Each Ghaf tree can absorb 34.6 kg of CO² emissions per year.

Ultimately, hand-in-hand with humans, drones could help support much more massive tree planting, which would have a significant impact on climate change: researchers recently calculated that there is enough room to plant another 1.2 trillion trees, which could suck up more carbon each year than humans emit.

Discover Solution 269: Metal organic framework (MOF) for carbon capture

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Categories
Mobility Planet Care

259: Zero emission racing yacht

Problem:

Since the 1890s, sailing yachts nearly always had an auxiliary fossil fuel engine on board or outboard for moving when the sails were lowered and for generating electricity in the cabin.

Solution:

In 2017, 29 sailing boats set off on the November 6, each of them with just one person aboard. They embarked on the Vendee Globe Challenge, a non-stop solo three month journey around the world. All of them had diesel generators on board, with one exception: Conrad Colman’s boat Foresight Natural Energy used solely hydro, solar and wind energy.


Solar panels integrated on the mainsail and on the cockpit roof – provided by French company SolarClothSystem produced up to 350 watts, boosting a hydro generator which generated power from the boat’s motion through the water – provided by Finnish company Oceanvolt.

The power was stored in li-ion batteries, provided by Dutch Company SuperB with storage capacity the equivalent of half a Tesla In this way all onboard electrical equipment was sustainable. Colman completed the circumnavigation.

Soon after, IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association) which manages the class of 60-foot (18.28 m.) monohulls, required members to support the No Plastic Challenge , a national campaign aims to fight against plastic pollution, encouraging everyone to cut the production and consumption of this non-biodegradable product.

Belonging to the IMOCA class, Malizia II is equipped with a one-design keel and mast (identical materials, forms and suppliers). With the Monaco Yacht Club, the Malizia team launched a project entitled “My Ocean Challenge”, aimed at “promoting the protection of the oceans, the training of young people and the scientific study of the seabed during navigations.”

Malizia II is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate the electricity that feeds the instruments. navigation, the autopilot, watermakers and a laboratory to test the CO₂ level of the waters.

It seemed appropriate that when the world famous Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg chose to cross the Atlantic in a yacht rather than an airplane and attend the UN climate summit in New York, Malizia II was chosen.

Also on board were the skipper Boris Hermann, Pierre Casiraghi, second son of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover, vice-president of the Monaco Yacht Club, Svante Thunberg, the father of Greta Thunberg and the documentary film maker director Nathan Grossman.

A small gas stove to heat the water needed for freeze-dried vegan food was the only consumer of fossil energy. The toilet was a blue plastic bucket with degradable bio bag that can be thrown overboard. The boat cast off on August 15 and arrived in New York.

After the summit, accompanied by her father, Greta travelled by train and bus to the annual UN climate conference in Chile with stops in Canada, Mexico and other countries. (team-malizia.com)

During the 2020, Vendée Globe round the world race, Hermann sailed Malizia II he carried an ocean sensor onboard to monitor water temperature, carbon dioxide and pH levels in the Southern Ocean to gather data for scientists examining climate change.

Another initiative has been by the The Zer°emission team sailing a modern TP52-class sailing boat in major racing events during 2019 and 2020. Together, industrial technology company Wärtsilä and the Zer°emission team are working to inspire sailors, race fans, other organisations, and race host cities to join the quest for cleaner oceans. The joint goal was to raise awareness about sea pollution and offer a platform for discussion.

From prototypes, zero emission yachts should become the norm.

Discover Solution 260: Saltwater lamp

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Categories
Mobility

227: X-plane NASA’s ‘moonshot’ for aviation.

Problem:

Current air transportation technologies require enormous amounts of fossil fuels and emit enormous amounts of carbon.

Solution:

NASA is working on the X57 Maxwell , an all-electric aircraft powered only by batteries, along with a plan to build even more ambitious X-planes over the next decade.

Compared with conventional aircraft, the X-57 team, made up of engineers from three NASA centers – Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, has set a goal of using five times less energy and – if powered by electricity generated from renewable sources – producing zero inflight carbon emissions.

Their solution is called a “Distributed Electric Propulsion” system. Owing to the fact that the electric motors are less powerful than the original combustion engines they are replacing, it will take fourteen of them to propel the X-57 during takeoff and landing. But once the plane is in the air and at cruising altitude, the twelve motors in the centre will shut down to save energy. The center motors will use folding centrifugal propellers, so that once they are no longer rotating, they will lay flat against their nacelles to reduce drag. When additional power is needed, they will extend as the motors are spun back up.

The X-57 Maxwell program began in 2017. Modification I, using an 18-engine truck-mounted wing, took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, using a truck bed, acronym HeIST (Hybrid electric Integrated Systems Testbed), capable of accommodating systems that use up to 100 kilowatts of power.

By September 2018, the first Joby Aviation JM-X57 electric cruise motor were mounted with controllers, batteries and new cockpit displays at Scaled Composites in Mojave, Construction of the ESAero high aspect ratio, low drag composite wing was then almost finished, to fly the Mod III by mid-2020.

Built by Xperimental, the cruise-optimized wing load testing was completed by September 2019, to ±120% of design load limit, verifying free movement of control surfaces and vibration testing for flutter predictions. After motor ground runs, ESAero delivered the Mod 2 X-plane with electric motors replacing the original piston engines to NASA on the first week of October 2019. flight tests were originally planned to begin in the third quarter of 2020. While the agency’s response to COVID-19 has slowed or halted several major projects,in April 2021, NASA announced that it will soon begin high-voltage functional ground testing, while the twelve  propellers are currently being tested in NASA’s Low-Speed Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel. Flight tests with the plane in its final configuration are still expected before the end of the year.

Discover Solution 228: Why wilderness corridors are so important.

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Mobility Planet Care

225: Race for Water

Problem:

Some planet-protecting solutions are unique marathon ambassadors which inspire others to find solutions.

Solutions:

In 2004, Raphaël Domjan of Lausanne, Switzerland had the idea of circumnavigating the world at speed in a boat uniquely powered by solar energy so as to demonstrate the potential of sustainable energy. Between 2010 and 2014, the 101ft (31m) MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, her deck covered by 5,780 ft² (537 meters²) of solar panels rated at 93 kW, she cruised at an average 7.5 knots (14 kph) around the oceans of our Planet.


From 2015, having been transformed into a laboratory to present on board plastic waste-upcycling solution demonstrators, the renamed  Race for Water, again embarked on a five-year program (2017-2021), serving as an as educational platform, itinerant laboratory and demonstration of support for the promotion of Clean-tech innovations.

These include her 25 hydrogen tanks at 350 bars, two 30 kW fuel cells of, two 5 kW electrolysers complete the 5,330 ft² (500 m²) of solar panels and the 4 li-ion batteries (754 kWh). The whole hydrogen system allows storage of 2800 kWh so gaining up to 6 days of autonomy, with a mass balance that is very advantageous: the hydrogen storage is 10 times lighter than the storage in battery.

Simon Bernard of Marseilles, former container and cruise liner merchant officer, having witnessed the extent of plastic pollution poisoning oceans, ecosystems, and mankind, started up the Plastic Odyssey Expedition. The Victor-Hensen, an 80 ft (25 m) long former oceanographic vessel has been refitted to use pyrolysis to convert salvaged plastic waste into 8 to 10 gallons (30 to 40 li.) of green fuel per hour.

From 2021 and for the next three years, Plastic Odyssey is circumnavigating the Planet to promote plastic recycling and reduction, sailing along the most polluted coasts (Africa, South America, and South-East Asia) to build at each stopover small modular recycling plants that will meet different needs.

Plastic Odyssey is sponsored by the Occitania Region in Provence, Clarins, Matmut, Crédit Agricole and Veolia. Simon Bernard and his team are developing low-tech and open-source technologies to valorize plastic waste. Blueprints will be available online so that everyone can have free access to them. (plasticodyssey.com)

In 2016, 23 students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands, made an 80-day, 14,300 mi (23,000 km.) round-the-world journey on two self-built electric motorbikes.

They called their mounts STORM Wave. They designed and built special li-ion battery packs giving a promising range of 236 mi. (380 km.) between charges; each honeycomb-shaped modular pack comprised 24 separate cartridges shaped into the body of the motorcycle and lays on 28.5 kWh of energy. It was possible to change a full battery pack within seven minutes.

Despite some minor setbacks, the team had taken it in turns to ride through 16 countries, visited 65 cities covering a total of close to 14,300 miles  (23,000 km.) The publicity generated inspired others.

Between 2015 and 2016, the world watched while Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg of Switzerland flew around the world in Solar Impulse 2. With a length of 73.5 ft (22.4 m.) and a wingspan of 236 ft (71.9 m), and a weight of only 5,000 lb (2,268 kg), the solar-electric airplane carried 17,248 monocrystalline silicon solar cells, 135µ thick and mounted on the wings, fuselage and horizontal tail plane.

They completed 23 days of flight and 26,744 mi. (43,041 km). Taking it in turns, they travelled in a 17-leg journey, with 4 continents, 3 seas, and 2 oceans crossed, proving that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.

In November 2016, the Solar Impulse Foundation launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies during COP22 at Marrakech, as a legacy to the first ever solar flight around the world. Its goal is to federate the main actors in the field of clean technologies, in order to create synergies, promote profitable solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental and health challenges, and give credible advice to governments.

With a target of 1,000 solutions, by May 2020 the portfolio had reached 419 solutions, with 25 from the United States, all third-party validated for both profitability and environmental protection. (solarimpulse.com)

Between 2016 and 2019, Wiebe Wakker of the Netherlands drove across 33 countries, including Turkey, Iran, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia, with the route determined by the offers he received on his website totalling 59,000 mi. (95,000 km.) in his electric Volkswagen Mark V Golf Wagon The Blue Bandit. On his arrival in Sydney, Australia, Wakker was escorted into Sydney by a fleet of nearly 50 electric vehicles. His event became worldwide news.

Although such vehicles can be criticised as expensive one-offs, they may inspire many people to do their little bit.

Discover Solution 226: recycling lithium ion batteries

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Energy Mobility

213: Molten Salt Reactor Ship

Problem:

Over the coming decades, as many as 60,000 ships must transition from combustion of fossil fuels to zero-emission propulsion and reduce emissions by 50% of the 2008 total, before 2050. T

Solution:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Chairman of TerraPower nuclear tech company in Washington has linked up with Mikal Bøe’s London-based Core Power, French nuclear materials handling specialist Orano and American utilities firm Southern Company to develop Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) atomic technology in the USA with the potential for use in commercial shipping.


The team including Rob Corbin of TerraPower and Giulio Gennaro of Core Power has submitted its application to the US Department of Energy to take part in cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, in order to build a prototype MSR as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.

Their solution will be using a fluid fuel in the form of very hot fluoride or chloride salt typically composed of beryllium-fluoride (BeF2) and lithium-fluoride (LiF), infused with high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), a ‘hot’ fissile material instead of solid fuel rods which are used in conventional pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

They have no moving parts, operate at very high temperatures under only ambient pressure, and can be made small enough to provide ‘micro-grid-scale’ electric power for energy-hungry assets, like large ships.

For this reason, they can be mass-manufactured to bring the cost of energy in line with existing fuels.
MSRs are walk-away safe. The fuel salts for MSRs work at normal atmospheric pressure, so a breach of the reactor containment vessel would simply leak out the liquid fuel which would then solidify as it cooled.

Bjørn Højgaard, the CEO of Hong Kong ship manager Anglo-Eastern (www.angloeastern.com) has commented “I think that in 50 years nuclear molten-salt-reactors will be par for the course in the shipping industry, and we will look back at the current time and wonder why we dabbled in alternative pathways for greenhouse gas-free propulsion.”

Ports will also be able to use energy from ships installed with m-MSR to power equipment and machinery while the ship is at berth, through reverse cold ironing. Power generated by m-MSR will be cost competitive when compared to terrestrial energy sources available to the port.

Discover Solution 214: lithium from thermal waters

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Mobility

197: Elon Musk’s Hyperloop

Problem:

Any effort to increase mass transit decreases energy consumed by invidual vehicle owners. Most rail transit uses electrical energy.

Solution:

In 2013, Tesla electric sportscar maker, Elon Musk re-invented a passenger train that would be faster than trains, safer than cars and much less damaging to the environment than aircraft. He called it Hyperloop.


It incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules, travelling at up to 620 mph (1000 kph) ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors. Musk proposed a route running from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area, roughly following the Interstate 5 corridor.

An agreement was signed in 2017 to co-develop a Hyperloop line between Seoul and Busan in South Korea. Although Musk originally envisaged his Hyperloop system being used by cars and personal pods, in 2018 he announced that instead it would give first place to pedestrians and cyclists.

The tunnels would still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs have been met. His Boring Co. urban loop system would have 1000’s of small stations the size of a single parking space that take the 124 mph (200 kph), midibus rider very close to their destination & blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city, rather than a small number of big stations such as a subway.

Where the Hyperloop differs from high-speed rail is that Musk has proposed scattering Hyperloop entrances along connecting cities more akin to subway stops rather than train halls, and that it was more for “personal transit”. The downside would that the machines building Hyperloop will use more electricity.

On November 8th 2020, the renamed Virgin Hyperloop made its first 100 mph passenger carrying trial at the company’s DevLoop test track in the desert outside Las Vegas, in the Nevada desert. The first two passengers were Virgin Hyperloop’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Josh Giegel, and head of passenger experience, Sara Luchian.

Parallel to Musk’s Hyperloop, China is building an experimental maglev train which by using vacuum-sealed tunnels, would reach speeds of more than 620 mph.

The prototype, laid in the central province of Hubei in early 2020 will be capable of reducing time from Hubei’s capital city, Wuhan, to the near-coastal city of Guangzhou, to just under two hours for a distance 1,367 mi. (2,200 km.). Hubei expects to start testing 124 mi (200 km.) sections of these vacuum tunnels in 2020 to “to verify the cutting-edge, high-temperature superconducting maglev theory and ultimately push the speed limit to 620 mph ( 1,000 kph).

Discover Solution 198: Hydrogen home batteries

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Mobility Planet Care

192: Ships that cool ocean waters

Problem:

Of climate catastrophes, hurricanes have caused by far the most damage. The cost of an average hurricane is US$21.6 billion and total damage from hurricanes hitting the U.S. between 1980 and April 2018 totals US$862 billion.

Solution:

Prevent hurricanes by cooling the warming ocean waters that allow and encourage them to form.


While casualties from hurricanes since 1900 have numbered from a handful of fatalities to deaths in the low hundreds, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is by far the costliest and most devastating storm in U.S. history, causing 1,833 deaths and an estimated US$160 billion in damage.

After observing the damage wrought by Katrina, Stephen Hugh Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, began to study how to disperse hurricanes.

For ocean temperatures, the magic number for hurricane formation is 26.5° C (79.7° F). So what if you could nudge that number down early on and reduce the risks and intensities of ensuing storms?

To cool the surface of the ocean, Salter invented a wave-powered pump that would move warm surface water down to depths as far as about 650 ft. (200 m.).

It would be made from a 150 – 330 ft (50- 100 m.) diameter ring of thousands of tyres lashed together to support giant plastic tubes which extend 300 ft (100m) deep into the ocean.

The naturally working pumps would be located in “hurricane alley”, the warm corridor in the Atlantic through which the most damaging storms typically develop and pass. Salter estimated that about 150-450 of these structures would be required. They would drift around and send out radar signals so that no one would collide with them.

What became known as the “Salter Sink” was first presented to the US Government in 2005 at a post-Katrina US Homeland Security meeting on hurricane suppression.

It was picked up and developed by Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based new tech company led by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold. Despite devastating hurricanes such as Dorian (September 2019) which destroyed the Bahamas, the Salter Sink” system has still not been trialled except with 1/100 scale wave tank tests.

Stephen Salter’s other tactic for fighting hurricanes is making clouds a tiny bit brighter using aerosols, harnessing a phenomenon called the Twomey effect.

Twomey observed that for clouds containing the same amount of moisture, the clouds with smaller suspended water droplets reflect more sunlight.

The increased sunlight reflectance in the sky would keep the waters below from warming up to the hurricane threshold while also curbing evaporation, thereby reducing the atmospheric moisture needed to make a storm.

Working with John Latham, Salter proposes a fleet of around 1,500 unmanned Rotor ships, or Flettner ships, that would spray mist created from seawater into the air at a rate of approximately 1760 ft3 (50 m³) per second over a large portion of Earth’s ocean surface.

The large-scale test would affect an area of 10,000 km². The power for the rotors and the ship could be generated from underwater turbines. Subsequent researchers determined that transport efficiency was only relevant for use at scale, and that for research requirements, standard ships could be used for transport.

Salter estimated that it would cost US$40 million to construct a prototype cloud seeding system but has not been able to find any public or private takers.

Despite this, since 2012, a Marine Cloud Brightening Project (MCBP) team has been meeting on a weekly basis at a lab in Sunnyvale, California. In 2017 Salter held talks with major Scottish engineering firms Ferguson Marine Port, Glasgow and Clyde Blowers about building his spray vessel ‘weather machines’. A prototype is still to be built and tested.

“If we can put them in the right place at the right time, 300 ships spraying 10 cubic m. a second would put sea surface temperature back to where they used to be.  We would need a few thousand is we are criminally stupid enough to double CO₂.” Said Salter in 2019.

Meanwhile, a wind engineering team led by Arindam Gan Chowdhury and Andrew W. Conklin at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at Florida International University has been working at a full-scale large 12-fan “Wall of Wind (WoW) facility, testing building materials and designs against Category 5 hurricane-strength winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The Wall began with two fans, then six fans and finally twelve fans able to simulate wind-driven rain. Current WoW projects, funded by federal and state agencies and by private industry, are offering focus and leadership in the urgently needed hurricane engineering research and education from an integrative perspective to quantify and communicate hurricane risks and losses, mitigate hurricane impacts on the built environment, and enhance sustainability of infrastructure and business enterprise, including residential buildings, low-rise commercial buildings, power lines, traffic signals, etc. s.

The team has a patent pending for a new type of roofing material. Additionally, recommendations made as a result of Wall of Wind testing were published in the 2010 Florida Building Code. The new code provisions are geared toward decreasing the vulnerability of roofs and rooftop equipment.

Discover Solution 193: underground rivers and hydro dams

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Mobility

187: Horses

Problem:

For the past two hundred years, most forms of mechanical transport have required fuel brought from a distance and artificially made. When that fuel runs out they come to a halt, as they do in extreme weather conditions such as heavy snow or floods.

Solution:

The horse.


For the past 4,000 years horses have been used for transport. Regarded as a unit of transport energy, one standard horse has an average height of 4.6 to 6 ft. (1.4 to 1.8 m) at the withers, or 15-16 hands. It is capable of a peak power production of 14.9 horsepower. It weighs about 1,000 lbs (454 kg.) and eats 2% of its body weight in dry feed a day or 20 lbs (9 kg.). It will drink 5 to 10 gallons (20 to 30 liters) of fresh water per day.

The Pony Express horses worked 25 mi. (40 km.) a day maximum. Assuming that a horse can average 25 mi. (40 km) a day every day, this works out to a horse going 1.25 mile/pound of feed. Galloping, a horse can reach top speeds of 25-30 mph (40 – 48 kph) for 2 mi. (3.2 km). While a horse may be exhausted after a three-mile (5 km) gallop, that same horse could trot, with a few walk breaks, 15 mi. (24 km) without extraordinary strain.

The electrical unit the watt was calculated from Horsepower and there are 740 watts in one horsepower. A horse can travel over most terrain, including thick snow and rivers. A horse deprived of feed, but supplied drinking water is capable of surviving 20 to 25 days. It has a working life span of 18 years (6,000 recycles). Well treated, it is very user friendly and becomes a companion. It is biodegradable, recyclable and, for some, edible. One or more horses interlinked, like batteries, can provide multiple energy to tow a passenger vehicle.

Aside from therapy, leisure and sport, the horse is a solution for our Planet. Since 1993, the French towns of Rennes, Millau, Nouvoitou, Rambouillet, Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives Cabourg, Grand Quevilly and Paris (at the Bois de Vincennes) have come to use “territorial horses” (cart horses) to take schoolchildren to and from school and to collect trash.

In 2011, around 100 French municipalities were using at least one territorial horse, but by the end of the following year, this number had grown to about 200, while by 2019 that figure stood at 250. In Vendargues in the Hérault, three Hippobuses are in regular service for schoolchildren.

Since 2009, Ramon Garcia, founder of “Aequitaine”, near Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, south-west France, manages a stable of 23 horses which can be rented out to plough the surrounding vineyards of the region. Their lighter weight is better for the vines than mechanical tractors.

Since October 2004, two Brittany horses haul barges loaded with industrial slag along the River Marne twice a day, five days a week, eliminating seven trucks daily, reducing noise pollution, pollutant emissions and the risk of accidents.

Police on horseback, including the United States Border Patrol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mexican Rurales, the British South African Police, and the Turkish/Cypriot Zapiteh are employed for specialized duties ranging from patrol of parks and wilderness areas, where police cars would be impractical or noisy, to riot duty, where the horse serves to intimidate those whom it is desired to disperse through its larger size, or may be sent in to detain trouble makers.

Discover Solution 188: Zero emission hospitals

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Materials Mobility

171: Light weight glass bottles

Problem:

Heavy glass requires more energy to transport it.

Solution:

In 2013 Rawlings of Bristol, England, the leading independent glass packaging specialist, with a strong heritage and reputation for sustainable quality, was selected by social enterprise Belu.org to deliver on the challenge of developing the lightest weight glass bottle for mineral water in the UK.


Belu was founded in 2004 by film maker Reed Paget as an environmentally friendly bottled water business. Reed launched the UK’s first compostable plastic bottle in 2006. Now Belu want to take the next step.

In the 1950s, S. Donald Stookey of the Corning Glass Works had accidentally invented Vitrelle, a lightweight tempered glass product consisting of two types of glass laminated into three layers, which could be used not just to make the nose cone of a missile but also to contain a casserole in both a refrigerator and hot oven. A typical Corelle dinner plate measured 10 in (26 cm) in diameter and weighs 12.5 ounces (355 gm).

Rawlings now teamed up with Owens-Illinois (O-I) in Toledo, USA who had developed a revolutionary new process that substantially reduces the amount of glass needed to reduce the weight of the previous lightweight 1.6 pint and 0.6 pint (750 ml and 330 ml) bottles both by 7 oz (20 g). Rawlings trademarked this as Ethical Glass.

To translate this weight saving into potential environmental gains, Belu have been able to save 937 tons (850,000 kg) of glass annually, equivalent to 2.1 million wine bottles and reduce their carbon emissions by 11%, the equivalent to saving the same amount of carbon associated with 7,000 nights in an average-sized UK hotel.

In addition to the bottle’s impressive environmental credentials, a royalty of up to 4 cents has been donated to WaterAid for each bottle purchased from Belu so enabling the company to generate over US$ 6,350,000 (£,500,000) helping more than 38,000 people without water.

Ethical Glass has not been retained exclusively for Belu – it is also being made available to other mineral water companies in a bid to lower the industry’s carbon footprint. (rawlingsbristol.co.uk)

Verallia which produces about 16 billion glass bottles and pots for 10,000 clients around the world have produced their Ecovà range up to 30% lighter in weight. With the production of a billion containers, Ecovà has saved 100,000 tons (91,000 tonnes) of raw materials and has reduced CO2 emissions by about 18%, including transportation.

Another approach is to make the glass (literally) greener.

Glass produced from recycled scrap (or “cullet”) creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than glass made from raw materials. According to a study conducted by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), switching from clear glass to green cuts packaging-related CO2 emissions by 20%.

This is due to the higher recycled content in green glass bottles, which is as much as 72.4%, against an industry standard of 28.9%. The study also revealed that bottling gin, white wine and brandy in green glass had a negligible impact on consumers’ perception of taste, and increasing the recycled content of the glass actually improved consumers’ opinion of both retailers and the products.

Discover Solution 172: Bottle factory

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Mobility

160: “flygskam”

Problem:

Carbon dioxide emissions of aircraft only account for about 2 per % is much bigger, because planes emit other gases that have a warming effect, including nitrogen oxide and contrails (those white tails of frozen water vapour visible from the ground).

Solution:

“flygskam” is a Swedish word meaning flight shame, the intention being to discourage travellers from using airflights when they can take a ship, a train or even sustainable car-pooling, so lowering carbon emissions. They can then use the word “tågskryt or “train brag”


The idea was originally championed in 2017 by Olympic biathlete Bjorn Ferry who estimated that during his sporting career he was travelling 180 days of the year, totalling around 25,000 mi (40,000 km) per year by plane and another 25,000 by car or minibus — and around 16 tons of CO2 emissions per year. After realising his impact Ferry he publicly committed to ditching air travel completely.

Ferry’s campaign to promore flygskam gained momentum after teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s mother, the opera singer Malena Ernman, publicly announced she would stop flying, with various Swedish celebrities following suit.

Thunberg herself travelled travel to events and conferences by train. She also took two weeks to travel from England to the UN Climate Action summit in New York, by the Malizia II, a solar-powered yacht.

Exact numbers are hard to estimate, but the Tagsemester Facebook page, set up by entrepreneur and environmentalist Susanna Elfors to give people tips and information on how to cut back on air travel in favour of rail travel, has around 80,000 active users. Swedish rail company SJ AB reports that twice as many Swedish people chose to travel by train instead of by air in summer 2019 compared with the previous year

From January 2020, Coronavirus had the disastrous effect of seriously reducing the commercial air flights, ironically creating a similar positive effect for air quality and the flyskam movement.

Satellite data collected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) and shared by NASA’s Earth Observatory showed a steep decline in nitrogen dioxide levels across the Planet.

The “flight shame” movement—vliegschaamte in Dutch, flygskam in Swedish, and flugscham in German—has lured some travelers back to the rails. French,  Dutch and German lawmakers are discussing bans on short domestic and international flights served by high-speed trains.

Germany has cut rail fares by 10% to encourage ridership, and the country’s Green Party is pushing to end the tax exemption on aviation fuel in favor of increasing funding for train travel. Traveling by rail cuts emissions by 70% to 90% compared to flying.
Sweden’s rail authority will run more overnight sleeper trains to serve passengers skipping airlines amid escalating climate concerns.

The new offering by Trafikverket will dispatch trains from Malmö, Sweden in the evening, scoop up more passengers an hour later Copenhagen, and arrive in Cologne, Germany at 6am. Onward connections from there will allow passengers to arrive in London, Paris, Munich, and Amsterdam before lunchtime.

After nearly two decades, the Brussels-to-Vienna overnight train by Austrian Railways (ÖBB) is rolling again. ÖBB now plans to expand hotel-like amenities on its 27 overnight train routes by 2022, with more coming.

In France, activists saved a beloved sleeping-car route between Paris, Perpignan and the Spanish border town of Portbou, according to Nicolas Forien, a member of both Back on Track and the French group Oui au Train de Nuit (“Yes to the Night Train”).

What you can do: Only use flights for journeys which are impossible for land transport.

Tomorrow’s solution: drinking from the fog

Discover Solution 161: Drinking water from fog

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Mobility Materials

148: Fibreglass boat recycling system

Problem:

Since fibreglass or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) boatbuilding began in the late 1950s, there has been a steady accumulation of unrecyclable old hulls all over the yachting world, numbering in the millions. Some will be crushed and buried in landfills; others are simply abandoned on land, often in boatyards or dealer service yards, or left as derelicts along waterways, where they can harm the environment.

Solution:

In 2007-2008 in the UK several trials were undertaken through the BeAware project (Built Environment Action on Waste Awareness and Resource Efficiency) to incorporate GRP waste into pre-cast concrete and rubber products.


With grinding, dimensions of the small resulting pieces ranged from 1 in (2.5 cm) to powder. That material could then be then be integrated into cement and therewith, be used in constructions.

The clinker was ground to form cement. Alumina and silica also have cementlike properties in an alkaline environment and are typically present in Portland cement at about 25%, and in much higher proportions in cement alternatives from fly-ash and slag. Boron, which is found in most E-glass, can cause a reduction in early strength during the setting of cement, but as long as proportions are kept low it is not considered a problem.

In 2010, Fiberline Composites of Middelfart, Denmark, a manufacturer of fibreglass and carbon fibre profiles signed a contract with two companies: Zajons in Germany, which specializes in converting waste to alternative fuels for industry and Holcim (Germany), subsidiary of the world leading cement manufacturer from Switzerland.

Under the contract, surplus fibreglass from Fiberline’s production in Denmark will be shipped south for use as a key constituent of cement. This breakthrough soon came to be used in other European countries, with an initial 10,000 hulls processed and recycled as part of several national and multinational marine industry programs.

Researchers at Windsheim University in the Netherlands have been testing out the re-use of such material to make piling sheets.

More recently both initiatives have begun in Canada and the USA. Transport Canada is financing Jeosal Materials Research Corporation working with Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, under the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge to develop a possible solution for recycling fibreglass.

In New York State, the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association (RIMTA) has launched a Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Pilot Project, partnering with local boatyards for dismantling and crushing 22 to 33 tons (20 to 30 tonnes) of fiberglass for use by cement industry partners in South Carolina. While it is important to note that the RIFVR Pilot Project is just taking its nascent steps, if things go well, the project could eventually be rolled out regionally and nationally.

What you can do: Tell coastal and estuary authorities that they can now recycle abandoned fibre-glass hulls.

Discover Solution 149: Recycling wind turbine blades

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Carbon Capture Mobility

141: Ethanol from CO2

Problem:

We are putting too much carbon into our atmosphere.

Solution:

A process for reducing CO₂ by converting it to ethanol has been developed by Michael Köpke at LanzaTech in Skokie, Illinois.


In 2009, Köpke obtained his PhD in microbiology and biotechnology at the University of Ulm, Germany, specialising the genetic engineering of gas fermenting organisms.

His pioneering research on Clostridium ljungdahlii demonstrated for the first time that gas fermenting acetogens can be genetically modified and provided a genetic blueprint of such an organism.

Köpke joined LanzaTech in Auckland, New Zealand, developing converting waste carbon monoxide emitted from factories into ethanol and other chemicals. LanzaTech’s carbon recycling technology is such as retrofitting a brewery onto an emission source such as a steel mill or a landfill site, but instead of using sugars and yeast to make beer, pollution is converted by bacteria to fuels and chemicals.

This is revolutionizing the way the world thinks about waste carbon by treating it as an opportunity instead of a liability.

In its first year, LanzaTech’s first pre-commercial plant in China produced over 100,000 gallons (380,000 liters) of ethanol from steel mill emissions that can be converted into aviation kerosene, plastic and products. This earned it an internationally recognized sustainability certification from the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials in 2013.

Additional facilities may be built in California, Belgium, India, and South Africa. Together, they could produce about 77 million gallons (26 million litres) of ethanol per year from carbon waste.

In 2018, LanzaTech began testing a low carbon fuel for airplanes, which was used to fuel a Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to London. Initially its biofuel for Virgin only accounted for 6% of the fuel mix.

The company aims to officially launch its new LanzaJet product in 2019, which could be a potential solution for the airline industry to reduce its waste.

LanzaTech claimed it could have three gas-to-ethanol plants ready in the UK by 2025 if it secured the necessary airline customers and government backing, producing about 125 million gallons (473 million liters) of SAF a year.

In November 2019, after three years of collaboration, ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy, Inc. signed a new, two-year expanded joint-development agreement to further enhance carbonate fuel cell technology for the purpose of capturing carbon dioxide from industrial facilities.

The agreement, worth up to US$60 million, will focus efforts on optimizing the core technology, overall process integration and large-scale deployment of carbon capture solutions. ExxonMobil is exploring options to conduct a pilot test of next-generation fuel cell carbon capture solution at one of its operating sites.

Discover Solution 142: Ethical banks

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Energy Mobility

134: Energy roads


Problem:

Highways and roads only use up energy to build and to maintain.

Solution:

Engineers from Lancaster University, UK, are working on ‘piezolectric’ ceramics that when embedded in road surfaces would be able to harvest and convert vehicle vibration into electrical energy. The research project, led by Professor Mohamed Saafi, will design and optimise energy recovery of around one to two kWs per kilometre under ‘normal’ traffic volumes—which is around 2,000 to 3,000 cars an hour. The system developed will then convert this mechanical energy into electric energy to power things such as street lamps, traffic lights and electric car charging points.


In Portugal, an energy road system called ESPHERA has been financed by the Centre for the Innovation of Smart Infrastructures, founded by Ferrovial, the Castile-La Mancha regional government and the University of Alcalá. Ferrovial is also in charge of technical coordination for ESPHERA, which has benefitted from the collaboration of Cintra (the motorway subsidiary company of Ferrovial) and the Aravía Company, who hold the concession for the maintenance of the section of the A-2 motorway between Zaragoza and Calatayud. (ferrovial.com)

In 2016 the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a pilot program in which piezoelectric crystals were installed on several freeways.

Scientists estimate the energy generated from piezoelectric crystals on a 10 mi (16 km) stretch of freeway could provide power for the entire city of Burbank (population: more than 105,000). Italy signed a contract to install this technology in a portion of the Venice-to-Trieste Autostrada.

China’s first solar highway was built by Pavenergy and Qilu Transportation in eastern China’s Shandong province on a section of one of the most highly-trafficked areas, the Jinan City Expressway ring road, stretching for 1.2 mi. (2.4 km) with an area of 63,234 ft² ( 5,875 m²).. The test section proved capable of holding middle size vans with strong friction. Engineers then added wireless vehicle charging into the panels. It opened in December 2017.

In 2019, engineers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) found a way to 3D print piezoelectric materials, so tailoring the architecture to make them more flexible able to wrap them around any arbitrary curvature.

What you can do: Drive along energy roads once they have been installed

Discover Solution 135: Honeybee inspired energy reduction

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Energy Mobility

133: Energy paths

Problem:

With the transition from fossil fuel to electrical energy, the exponential demand will need the widest variety of sources.

Solution:

Another clean system for generating electricity makes use of piezo materials (usually in the form of the mineral quartz, topaz, or lead zirconate titanate), where the simple act of walking or jumping or driving a vehicle over a surface can generate electricity.


This challenge has been taken on by Laurence Kemball-Cook, an undergraduate studying Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University, England. Following the publicity generated by a short demonstration film of his PaveGen tiles posted on his website Kemball-Cook, was awarded US$ 13,000 prize and struck a US$ 250,000 deal with one of the largest urban shopping centers in Europe, Westfield in London. PaveGen received orders from at Heathrow Airport”s Terminal Three and entered into collaboration with the US government.

In Lagos, Nigeria, the tiles have been installed under a soccer field, enabling players to light up the entire field during a match. A second generation of PavGen tiles is triangular in shape, with a generator in each corner to maximize energy output. In addition to power generation, PaveGen can use Bluetooth to connect to smartphone applications and the system can also communicate with building management systems.

Caveat to this solution is that when the PaveGen is not being walked on it does not generate energy, this problem occurs if the tile is placed somewhere that is crowded but at times does not receive any people on it which causes it to not generate energy. But this problem can be largely avoided by just placing the tiles in places that always receive people such as the subway stations of New York or other similarly crowded cities.

At the NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2017, Ilan Stern, a senior research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and colleagues, collaborated on a project supported by NASA contractor Delaware North Corporation to build a 40,000 ft² (3,700 m²) lighted outdoor piezoelectric footpath.

What you can do: Tell town councils near you about energy paths, wand walk along them whenever possible

Discover Solution 134: Energy roads

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Mobility

125: Electric boat as microgrid

Problem:

After a hurricane of Category 4-5, the entire population of a devastated island has no electricity.

Solution:

An electric boat as microgrid.


When the first 12 pax solar boats were built in 1995 by MW-Line in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, the 75ft (23 m) Solifleur and Chlorophylle were operated by Pro Natura for nature excursions on the Lake of Neuchâtel.

Suggested and implemented by Theodor Schmidt, these were the first solar boats to be fitted with a mains connection in order to feed extra solar energy into the 230V grid when the boats are not being used.

Twenty-four years later, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia created an system that can theoretically turn electric boats into small renewable power plants. They tested the algorithm with a microgrid in their lab, using four 6-volt gel batteries connected in a 24-V series as a stand-in for a boat. To implement this approach, they would need an electric boat with its own PV system, which would charge the boat’s batteries when the boat was moored.

Then when the boat is docked, it could act as a small power plant, providing electricity to homes on an island. If Indonesia, for example, were hit with a natural disaster, those microgrids could be destroyed.

Even Indonesia’s widely electrified islands may be impacted. With the new approach, the Indonesian government could use the boats it sent with food and supplies to also provide power. In their experiment, they found that the algorithm could manage power flows reliably enough to allow electric boats to provide peak load support to a grid directly after a trip.

With the algorithm in place, boat owners could decide when to sell electricity, and how much they wanted to sell. They might, for example, set their system to automatically sell 10 % of its stored energy, and only if the batteries are at least halfway charged. Boats are uniquely positioned to provide this kind of service, the researchers point out. Electric cars do not generally have their own PV system.

So instead of adding power to the grid such as a boat could, electric cars draw from it. The proposed technology works pretty similarly to the microgrids that are gradually rolling out in Indonesia. Those microgrids also contain PVs to collect energy and li-ion batteries to store it, but there is . one key difference: portability.

When some natural disaster occurs in dispersed islands, the electricity networks or generation systems are heavily damaged, and residents live without electricity for weeks. In this case, consumers having this technology can immediately get their power.

The concept is still in its infancy, but the University of New South Wales team expects to get its algorithm out of the lab and into the ocean by testing it with an actual electric boat in the near future.

Discover solution 126: Electricity from microbes

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Mobility Planet Care

104: Drones for agriculture

Problem:

Globally, farmers spend over $40 billion per year on pesticides and herbicides (weed killers) to avoid an estimated total of $200 billion in crop loss annually caused by pests. About 200,000 suicides each year are indirectly attributed to pesticide poisoning, almost all in developing countries.

Solution:

Precision-spraying drones


Farmers are using infra-red camera carrying drones to pinpoint problem spots with insects and aphids in vast fields and ranchlands. This is based on the mapping, another drone then drops a ‘cocktail’ of predatory insects, transported in a sock attached the underbelly of the drone and containing a mixture of vermiculite and insects onto grape vines and citrus trees to combat pests. By focalizing pest control, they prevent spread and save money.

After a successful joint venture, in January of 2018 SkySquirrel Technologies and VineView Scientific Aerial Imaging merged to form VineView. VineView drones can check 50 acres of vineyards in 24 minutes for telltale signs of mold, bacteria or other diseases.

The system is used in two of the world’s top wine regions – California and France.

For herbicide-free weedkilling, in 2010 Gaëtan Séverac, PhD student in robotics teamed up with Aymeric Barthès, one of his classmates at the Institut Méditerranéen d’Etude et Recherche en Informatique et Robotique (IMERIR) to develop an all-terrain weeding robot.

OZ, their prototype used a satellite positioning algorithm with a precision of 4 cm called PPP-CNES, (PPP meaning Punctual Positioning Specific).

In 2011 Séverac and Barthès founded their startup, Naïo Technologies in Toulouse. Soon after, field trials were carried out on two vegetable farms and a vineyard in the Occitania region.

From 2015, Naïo Technologies organised a « Move Your Robot » national contest opened to engineering colleges and universities, with the objective of improving the OZ guidance programs.

For example, in 2016, participants proposed a power supply solution with a solar panel adaptable to the robot, a touch-screen human-machine interface, a soil analysis laboratory embedded on the robot, a voice guidance system and a gun noise to scare birds.

By 2016, a growing number of OZ weedkillers were being used by customers anxious to get away from products like Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate).

Naïo next produced TED, a vine-straddling robot weedkiller, trialled by Bernard Magrez up and down the vines of his Château Fombrauge (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé), then by Philippe de Rothschild on his vineyard.

Measuring 1m80 wide by 2m high, equipped with a GPS, the electric 4WD TED is able to leaves the wine warehouse to go directly to the plot, programmable to work according to the weather, and to make several passes.

Naïo Technologies’ next machine was Dino, a straddle robot for the mechanical weeding of vegetable plantations. It is particularly suitable for salad crops, which it weeds mechanically and autonomously thanks to its hoeing and guiding tools. Bob, the fourth option runs on caterpillar tracks.

In December 2018 the fourth FIRA International Forum of Agricultural Robotics was held over two days at the Diagora center in Labège. Organized by Naïo-Technologies, it hosted more than 800 delegates from around the world. This sector is evolving, with projects of all shapes and sizes.

What you can do: Tell local farmers about drones.

Discover solution 105: Batteries in a shipping container

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Carbon Capture Energy Human Effort Materials Mobility Planet Care Your Home

Solution 100

Solution:

100 days ago, on September, 1, 2020,  we began publishing one solution per day about cleaning up, repairing and protecting our Planet, with the bottom line of “What you can do!” If you look at our growing Encouragements page, you will see several approving comments for our simple approach. We welcome comments for all who visit our pages, not only on this website, but also your “likes” on our dedicated Facebook page, and you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter.

Onwards to 200 solutions!
Kevin, Jeff, Helen and Josh

What you can do: Follow and share 366solutions and tell your friends about ways we all can clean up, repair and protect our planet!

Discover solution 101: Documentary films to make us aware

 

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Mobility Your Home

96: Delivery vehicle, door-to-door

Problem:

Continuing to use cars to individually travel to and from supermarkets to buy weekly provisions is not eco-efficient.

Solution:

The door-to-door delivery vehicle


As long ago as August 1967, the UK Electric Vehicle Association put out a press release stating that Britain had more battery-electric vehicles on its roads than the rest of the world put together. All manufacturers of battery electric vehicles were, at one time, members of the Electric Vehicle Association of Great Britain, and they received returns from the manufacturers on a regular basis, so they were able to give accurate numbers of BERVs in use in the UK for a certain year.

The EVA also had industrial truck manufacturers, battery manufacturers and component suppliers as members of the Association. Closer inspection disclosed that almost all of the 30,000 battery driven vehicles licensed for UK road use were milk floats or door-to-door delivery vehicles, the final link from electric milking machines at the dairy farm.

This link continues today with the addition that instead of the milkman taking orders and being paid at each doorstep, the client can command pay for their groceries on-line.

In 2012, a startup calling itself Picnic was formed by a team of IT specialists, led by Joris Beckers, Frederik Nieuwenhuys, Bas Verheijen and Michiel Muller in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Backed by these four investors, it planned to come up with a new business that would be able to gain a position in a market dominated by giant companies in the grocery market.

The idea was simple. Clients ordered their dairy products and groceries using an on-line App-only which would then be delivered for free within a one-hour timeslot of their choice, using an electric truck with a 68 mi (l10 km) range called the E-Worker, built by the French company Goupil. Starting off with 150 customers in Amersfoort, by 2016 Picnic was serving over 30,000 households in several cities in the middle of the Netherlands.

In March 2017, having received US$110 million (€100 million) in funding, Picnic announced an aggressive expansion in the years ahead, including 5 new warehouses,70 distribution hubs, and the procurement of a staggering 2,000 electric delivery vehicles.

In 2018 Picnic entered the German market, selecting Kaars, Neuss, Meerbusch and Oberkassel (part of Düsseldorf’s district 4) with further expansion, starting in North Rhine-Westphalia which has a population of about 18 million people.

Picnic is also expanding its delivery service in the Netherlands, to Noord Brabant, starting with Breda and Tilburg. Launching in May, 185,000 families will be able to use the grocery delivery service. The next move is Belgium. There is no reason why Picnic should not eventually serve the 27 counties in the European Union. By mid-2019, around 700 of these electric carts were making deliveries around in the Netherlands and around 80 in Germany, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia. (picnic.app)

Tomorrow’s electric trucks will most surely be working hand-in-hand with electric cargo drones in the business of doorstep delivery.

It has already begun. In 2017, Workhorse of Loveland, Ohio, already makers of an electric W-15 pick-up truck, unveiled their 100 mi. (160 km) range N-Gen delivery van as part of their concept towards delivery with their integrated HorseFly drone. The latter takes off from the parked N-Gen lifting packages weighing up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) and delivering them to a destination within the driver’s line of sight. Production of the N-Gen-1000 began in 2019. Thus the definition of a milk float enters the future…

In September 2019, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Michigan-based startup Rivian. The announcement came during an event in Washington, DC where Bezos unveiled Amazon’s sweeping plan to tackle climate change.

What you can do: Order your good on-line and have them delivered to your door by electric vehicles, four wheels or two.

Tomorrow’s solution: Aquaporins for purifying water

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Mobility

82: Container ship management system

Problem:

100 million of these shipping containers go 25 to 40% empty from one port to the other. The emissions from the diesel fuel during these trips are wasted emissions.

Solution:

Make it easier for shipping companies to find full containers.


In 2016, Sheikh Ahsan Tariq, Hood Al Hoqani, Hamza Al Kharusi, and Wajiha Khalid Paracha of Muscat, the capital and largest city of Oman, founded Cubex Global, created a online digital marketplace, built on a secure blocktrain, for sea freight where ocean freight forwarders can buy, sell and bid on empty container space in real-time, thus enabling them to recover as much as $25 Billion in lost revenues on an annual basis on top of sustainably decarbonising as much as 20% on emissions.

Very soon, Cubex Global had 2,000 active shippers and carriers on its platform with its services being used in the Arab Emirates, Asia Pacific, and some parts of Europe.

With further funds raised by Oman Technology Fund as part of its Wadi Accelerator, Cubex has been able to expand across six continents by opening new branch offices in China, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The Omani startup had recently also won Ocean Challenge by World Economics Forum where it competed with 50 startups from the world.

What you can do: If your company is freighting goods in container ships, think of using the Cubex system.

Discover Solution 83: Biodegradable contraceptives

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Mobility

81: Autonomous electric container barge

Problem:

There are many thousands of diesel-engined container ships and barges plying the canals and rivers of Europe. Diesel combustion exhaust is an indirect cause of human cancer, heart and lung damage, and mental functioning.

Solution:

A Zero-emission autonomous container barge.

Ton van Meegen, inland waterways entrepreneur in the Nijmegen Area, Netherlands has started up Port-Liner to develop a fleet of fully-electric crewless container barges to transport freight initially from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam.

Called “Tesla ships”, One Kempenaar-sized vessel called the Tempsnip is 170 ft (52 m ) long and 19ft ( 6.7m) wide, and able to carry twenty-four 20ft (6 m) containers weighing up to 468 tons (425 tonnes).

Its electric motors will be driven by 20-ft (6 m) Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB), giving it 15 hours of power, charged on shore by the carbon-free energy provider Eneco. Although designed to operate without any crew, EC52 will be manned initially.

Adjustable wheelhouses enable them to go under 5m60 (16 ft) bridges, while by flooding its ballast tanks, it can further reduce its height.

The EC 110 version has a length of 328 ft (100 m) and a width of 38 ft (11m45), to load 14 containers of 20 ft (6 m). or 7 containers of 40 ft.(12 m) or any combination of the two sizes.with four E-Powerboxes would have an action radius of about 30 hours (143 mi or 230km).

This allows the vessel to easily cover the Rotterdam/Antwerp/Duisburg corridors, at competitive cost compared to conventional diesel propulsion. The ship can be customized (dimensions, cargo type ) up to 7700 tons (7,000 tonnes) .

Port-Liner submitted a project under which it will build five hybrid barges that will ply between De Kempen intermodal terminal in the Netherlands and Antwerp. Thanks to these hybrid barges there will be 23,000 fewer diesel trucks on the roads annually and a reduction of about 18,000 tonnes per year of CO₂.

According to a report from transportation news site “Elektrek », the 100 million-euro (US$122 million) project has been supported by a €7 million (US$8.6 million) subsidy from the European Union, with Loadstar also having reported that the Port of Antwerp had added a €200,000 (US$245,000) subsidy as part of a wider initiative to improve its port’s efficiency. Port-Liner can build 500 of these ships per year.

The battery pack could also be used to retro-fit existing river barges. During summer 2020, the 443 ft (135 m) Portliner Anna went on trials from Werkendam, southern Netherlands.

What you can do: If your company is freighting goods, think of using the rivers instead of the roads.

Discover Solution 82: No more half-empty containers

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Mobility Human Effort

67: Carpooling

Problem:

Four to six-seater privately owned automobiles are seldom full, creating massive traffic holdups and emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gas.

Solution:

Carpooling or ridesharing consists of a private vehicle owner sharing their ride with others.


It first became prominent in the United States as a rationing tactic during World War II. It returned in the mid-1970s due to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. It was also known as “hitch-hiking”.

At that time the first employee vanpools were organized at Chrysler and 3M. Recently, however, The Commuter Benefit system linked to the Internet has facilitated growth for carpooling and the commute share mode has grown to 10.7% in 2005.

In 2007 with the advent of smart phones and commercially available GPS, computer programmers John Zimmer and Logan Green, from Cornell University and the University of California, Santa Barbara respectively, rediscovered and created carpooling system called Zimride.

This was a precursor to Lyft launched in the summer of 2012 which operates in 640 cities in the United States and 9 cities in Canada. It develops, markets, and operates the Lyft mobile app, offering car rides, scooters, and a bicycle-sharing system.

In China, since Didi Chuxing set up a carpooling service called Hitch in Beijing, Harbin, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Shenyang and Nantong, it has clocked more than a billion rides of trips less than 31 mi. (50 km.) in metro areas between 5am and 8pm for female users. Male users can enjoy the service till 11pm.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, provided social distancing and mask wearing are observed, carpooling, hand-in-hand with public transport systems, will remain most effective when all the vehicles involved are zero emission electric.

Tomorrow’s solution: biodegradable cell phones

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57: Electric buses are leading the EV revolution

Problem:

The three million diesel-engined buses circulating in the world, account for nearly half of all nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than two-thirds of all particulate matter (PM) emissions from US transportation sources.

Solution:

Electric buses.


In 2018, there were about 425,000 electric buses in service in the world’s cities. Almost all—99 % of them—were in China. Arguably the first commercial li-ion electric bus was developed by Mr Lu Guanqiu at the Wanxiang Electric Vehicle Company (WXEV).

The company traces its origins to the creation of a repair shop for agricultural machinery in 1969 in the people’s commune Ningwei. In 1979, a factory for agricultural machinery was created.

Then in 2000, WXEV bought a li-ion battery company and three years later they were running a prototype li-ion bus on Route Y9 around West Lake, Hangzhou City.

By 2009, a fleet of these had clocked up 350,000 mi. (560,000 km) on this route and WXEV had delivered buses to major cities in China, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Nanchang, etc.

They also supplied 100% electric buses to the 16th Asian Games, held in Guangzhou in 2010 while at the Shanghai Expo 2010, Wanxiang deployed 160 buses, each with 65 seats and 300 batteries, on two 8.6 mi (14km) long lines, each capable of a range of 50 mi. (80km). The additional batteries were charged in a hall and changed by robots in 6 minutes.

There will be 1.5 million electric buses in use worldwide by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency Europe.

Every five weeks, 9,500 brand new electric buses take to the roads in China: that is the equivalent of the entire London bus fleet. A number of cities in the Europe’s Nordic region such as Oslo, Trondheim and Gothenburg also have electric buses in operation. Only 1.6% of all city buses in Europe are electric. In the US, it is only about 0.5%.

Alongside the biggest manufacturer, BYD (75,000 units), other electric bus manufactures include

What you can do: Ride regularly in an electric bus

Discover Solution 58: biofuel from prickly pears

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Materials Mobility

45: Building boats from bioplastics

Problem:

Boats built of glass-fibre reinforced plastic are very expensive to recycle and usually end up as carcasses in some muddy estuary.

Solution:

The Netherlands
Over in Friesland and Omrin, in August 2019, 10XL of Dordrecht teamed up with Frisian waste management company Morssinkhof in the creation of a 3D printed sloop made out of recycled polypropylene.

The 20ft (6m) boat was printed by a robotic arm with six axes, taking around 24 hours to create. It belongs to the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân. Now that the company has more or less perfected the design, they are planning to open a ship building factory in Friesland.

USA
Two months later, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center used the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer to create the 25 ft (7.6 m), 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) ship, dubbed 3Dirigo. At the end of the event, the team tested the seaworthiness of its boat in UMaine’s Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory, which features a multidirectional wave basin and a high-performance wind machine.

If pushed to its limits, the 3D printer can create objects up to 100 ft. long, 22 ft. wide, and 10 ft. high.(30m x 6.7m x 3 m) (composites.umaine.edu)

Bioplastics News, July 9, 2018 ; “Frisian companies helping create 3D printed boat from recycled plastic,” The Northern Times, August 12, 2019.

Discover solution: the wonders of PET

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Materials Mobility

44: Cars made from soybeans, coffee and tequila

Problem:

Vehicles made in steel and aluminum which are costly to extract, must be taken to a scrapyard for an energy-expensive process involving crushing, then shipping off to a recycling center where they are shredded and separated into small pieces, which are then sorted into various metals.

Solution:

USA
In the early 1940s, Henry Ford experimented with making plastic parts for automobiles. These experiments resulted in what was described as a “plastic car made from soybeans.

Based on the work of Afro-American scientist/botanist George Washington Carver, the “Soybean Car” was unveiled by Henry Ford on August 13, 1941 at Dearborn Days, an annual community festival. The exact ingredients of the plastic panels are unknown because no record of the formula exists today.

On the other hand, the Trabant automobile of which several million were made between the late 1950s and about 1990, had most of its body panels made from phenol-formaldehyde reinforced with cotton. The average life span of these cars was more than 30 years.

Sixty years later, in 2001, Deborah Mielewski, the Senior Technical Leader of Materials Sustainability at Ford Motor Company’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan, initiated the biomaterials program.

Her team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating, enabling Ford to include the product first on the 2008 Mustang, then in every Ford North American-built vehicle.

Ford Research’s next step was to look at the agave fruit. The blue agave cactus Agave tequilana has spiked leaves and a round, fleshy core (the piña) and grows in the hot and arid regions of Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

The leaves are chopped off and the core is cooked and crushed to create juice, which is fermented and distilled to make tequila.

Jose Cuervo make the best-selling tequila in the world. As of 2012, Jose Cuervo sells 3.5 million cases of tequila in the US annually, and a fifth of the world’s tequila by volume.

Ford teamed up with Jose Cuervo to make bioplastics from agave fibre waste that otherwise must be burned or sent to the landfill, for use in vehicle interior and exterior components such as wiring harnesses, storage bins and HVAC units. This could make cars lighter and improve fuel economy.

Mielewski at Ford has also teamed up with McDonald’s to incorporate coffee chaff — coffee bean skin that comes off during the roasting process — into the plastic headlamp housing used in some cars.

The coffee version is more sustainable because it is lighter and does not use the talc which, as a mineral, is not renewable. Coffee chaff, on the other hand, is widely available. McDonald’s also achieved its goal of sourcing all of its US coffee sustainably, one year ahead of schedule, and is also working with competitors to develop more environmentally friendly coffee cups. (corporate.ford.com)

Poland
At the Gdańsk University of Technology in Wroclaw County Selena, a research group led by Wojciech Komala, is turning to plants that are not used in the human food chain as a potential source of eco-friendly plastics.

One environmental benefit of 3D printing is the ability to print items anywhere, even in a store or at home. This theoretically could significantly reduce the need to transport items and therefore lower the emissions associated with that transportation. Unlike subtractive manufacturing, 3D printing uses only the material it needs when layer by layer is added so reducing waste, while it is also capable of reusing plastic waste.

Using 3D printing, automobile dashboards and other interior components could soon be made from Tytan which has been protected by patents in Poland, Germany, France and Great Britain.

Japan
A research team led by Professor Hiroyuki Yano at Kyoto University is working on nanocellulose, a wood pulp material for automobile door panels, fenders and car hoods, a material as strong as steel, but 80% lighter. The team chemically treats wood pulp, which consists of millions of cellulose nanofibres (CNFs), and disperses these CNFs into plastic. (rish.kyoto-u.ac.jp)

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee have spent a lot of time working with unique 3D printing materials, such as polyester, lignin and nanocellulose. In 2019, a new research collaboration between ORNL and the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center aims to increase efforts to use nanocellulose as 3D printing materials.

Together, the team will work with the forest products industry to create new bio-based 3D printing materials that can be used to make products for building components including automobiles.

One of their partners is American Process Inc. with its nanocellulose product BioPlus, made at the company’s plant in Thomaston, Georgia. ORNL have already used their “Big Area Additive Manufacturing” (BAAM) a large fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D-printer, in collaboration with Cincinnati Incorporated to print the full-sized, National Harbor Strati electric car in conjunction with Local Motors in Phoenix, Knoxville, and National Harbor.

The car took just 44 hours to print during the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Illinois. The printing was followed by three days of milling and assembling.

After the car was printed, the mechanical and electrical parts such as battery, motors, and suspension were manually assembled, with the completed car first test-driven on September 13, 2014.

Local Motors also located to Tempe, Arizona where they teamed up with IBM’s Watson IoT’s AutoLAB to release the self-driving Olli shuttle bus. Local Motors has also set up localized micro-factories in Phoenix, Las Vegas, National Harbor, and Berlin, which design and manufacture automobiles in the regions they serve.

This plan has helped the company achieve a small-batch, on-demand business model, so they can keep a small footprint while working on big ideas such as the Olli bus, that have the potential to redefine existing industries. (ornl.gov)

In 2014, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation announced the development of a new grade of high-performance, high-transparency bio-based engineering plastic called DURABIO™, for use in touch panels on automobiles, using plant-derived isosorbide as its raw material. (m-chemical.co.jp)

Netherlands: In 2018, Eindhoven University of Technology researchers created the first car made completely out of bioplastics.

The Bioplastic car was named Noah and weighs 794 pounds (360 kg) without batteries, approximately half the weight of a regular car. The batteries weigh 132 lb (60 kg). The chassis  is made from sugars, the body is made from polylactic acid (PLA) and the car is weather-proof. (tue.nl)

Morgen Filament; Axel Barrett, “First Car Made Completely From Bioplastics”

Discover solution 45: nanocellulose boats.

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Mobility Human Effort Materials Your Home

33: Muzzicycles

Problem:

Bicycles are the most energy efficient form of transportation in the world, but the manufacturing of metal frames and components is energy and carbon intensive.

Solution:

The Muzzicycle. A bicycle made of recycled plastic to replace at least some of the 2 billion in the world that are made of steel and  aluminium.


In 1998, Juan Muzzi, a Uruguayan artist and mechanical engineer living in Sao Paulo, Brazil began research into PET and nylon materials including plastic bottles, shampoo containers, car dashboards and kitchen trash cans as a source of raw material, to make a plastic bicycle. It would not rust, be sturdier, more flexible and cheaper.

By 2008, Muzzi had found a way to integrate his molded frames with wheels, mudguards, pedals and seats, but it took four further years of testing to market the product to secure the seal of quality from INMETRO (Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality).

By then a plant had been built which could take in 17,000 tons (15,400 tonnes) of recycled plastic every year using it to produce 10,000 Muzzicycles per month in every colour of the rainbow.

With 200 plastic bottles going into each frame, the process uses far less energy than is required for making traditional metal frames, saving well over 5 tons (4.5 tonnes) of CO₂ emissions, although a steel bicycle frame will lasdt a lifetime.

In 2020, Do Bem, manufacturer of fruit juice made a promise to remove from the environment 100% of the amount of long-life cartons that it produces per year, approximately 44 million.

This has included the donation of 20 Muzzicycles to four ngos in Rio de Janeiro: “Champion Hug”, “Maré Development Network”, “Irmãos Kennedy Community Center” and “Yes, I am from the Middle”.

Additionally, while working with Teto and Ecolar, the polyaluminium used to line Do Bem’s fruit juice cartons would be recycled into glasses, tiles and floors – the last two items will be used in the construction of sustainable housing organizations.

The production of a tile, for example, takes 500 boxes. Each house has 20 square meters and is made with 63 sheets and 16 recycled tiles, which requires about 40,000 cartons

In 2012 after discovering the Muzzicycle, Juan Carlos Seguro of Medellin, Colombia set up Eco Muévete Seguro making and marketing his bikes as Re-ciclas, or Re-cycles. Seguro then partnered with a local recycling firm, Kaptar, which operates a network of bottle collecting machines that link to smartphone applications.

Bottle collectors, by depositing bottles in the machine, earn points that can be spent on benefits such as subway tokens and movie passes. Kaptar’s machines take in 2,000 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles every day.

Now there is a waiting list of at least 2,500 people to buy a recycled frame bike that is custom made in Sao Paulo. Juan Muzzi is now planning to manufacture recycled child’s bikes and plastic wheelchairs.

Discover solution 34: the billion tree tsunami

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Mobility

24: Electric cars

Problem:

Overall, diesel and petrol automobiles emit hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and lead pollution contributing towards the GHG thread.

Solution:

The electric automobile is far less polluting.

From 1997, the Toyota Prius hybrid-electric automobile was the ambassador for the revival of the solution of the electric automobile. Since its launch, Toyota has sold 4.3 million units Currently, over thirty manufacturers are making battery-electric automobiles with a range of 250 to 700 miles (400 to 1,000km).

According to the “Global EV Outlook 2020”, the sales of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 – already a record year – to boost the stock to 7.2 million EVs. Annual sales of EVs is predicted to exceed 3.5 million vehicles in 2030, reaching more than 20 percent of annual vehicle sales in 2030.

BloombergNEF expects one in 10 vehicles purchased in 2025 will be battery-powered and although COVID-19 has temporarily put the brakes on, by 2022 there will be over 500 different EV models available globally.

Three of the world’s best-selling electric automobiles are the Nissan Leaf (500,000 units), the Tesla Model 3 (500,000 units) and the Renault Zoë (218,000 units), according to EV-Volumes. The two-seat Renault Twizy quadricycle has sold over 30,000 units.

And on September 22, 2020, Tesla announced it would have an electric car priced at $25,000 available in the US market by 2023.

Bloomberg adds that by 2040, the world will need about 12 million public charging points. As of July 2019, there were over 170,000 public charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe, over 400 charging stations are owned by Ionity with an average of six charging points per station.

As of July 2020 The Tesla-only fast-charging is now at 2,035 public stations with 18,100 individual chargers in North America, compared to about 1,400 charging points for ChargePoint, a company that operates an independent network of EV chargers and 1,660 points for Volkswagen’s Electrify America network.

General Motors is teaming up with the EVgo charging network to add 2,700 fast-charging connectors in cities across the U.S.  By August 2020 EV charging stations passed the million mark globally.

There are almost one dozen Apps which inform drivers there whereabouts of the nearest and most available charging points. As the leading app for EV drivers, PlugShare provides near-global coverage of charging stations and over 800,000 downloads.

Global EV Outlook 2020”, IEA Technology report ,June 2020; “The Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020”, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Discover solution 25: Sharkskin as an inspiration in the combat against hospital bacteria

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