Categories
Materials Planet Care

147: Floating farm

Problem:

Energy is used to transport farm produce from the countryside to towns and cities and to keep it fresh during transit.

Solution:

A floating dairy farm


In June 2019, a Dutch property company called Beladon launched the world’s first floating dairy farm anchored to the ocean’s floor in the middle of Rotterdam’s Merwehaven harbour. 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows are milked by Lely robots to produce 1700 pints (800 liters) of milk a day.

Peter van Wingerden, an engineer at Beladon, came up with the idea in 2012 when he was in New York working on a floating housing project on the Hudson River.

While there, Hurricane Sandy struck, flooding the city streets and crippling its transport networks. Deliveries struggled to get through and within two days it was hard to find fresh produce in shops. Seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy van Wingerden was struck by the need for food to be produced as near as possible to consumers.

The top floor of the cow garden houses greenhouses for clover, grass, and other crops that feed the cows; the middle level is the animals’ floating home, a grassy enclosure meant to resemble a natural garden, but populated with artificial trees.

The cows called Karma, Courage, and Sustainabetty are free to roam in and out of their stalls, and also have the option to graze on solid ground in an adjacent field they can access via a ramp. Lely Robots provide them with fodder and brush them down. Finally, the bottom floor contains a processing plant, turning fresh milk into consumer products, including yogurt and, possibly, Comté-style cheese.

All of this futuristic food manufacturing is happening behind glass walls to literally emphasize transparency. School children and consumers are being invited to tour the farm and watch robots milk the cows and pick up their waste, which is used as fertilizer or converted into energy for on-site use.

To power it, the farm uses solar and wind energy from rooftop windmills and solar panels, while artificial trees with real ivy provide shade for the cows and reduce energy consumption by cooling the space.

One of the Dutch farming organizations that collaborated with Beladon is planning to take the same concept to other cities, and is already developing a floating vegetable and egg farm. Before they move on to chickens, however, they will hopefully have solved one current problem: what to do about that distinct animal farm odour.

The cows arrived on board in April 2019. No matter how much rain falls, no matter how high sea level goes, this farm can always produce life-essential, healthy food. By August, floating production was more than 160 gallons (600 litres) of milk a day.

Van Wingerden has talked to food companies and developers seeking to bring buoyant dairies to Singapore, Dubai, and New York.

Discover Solution 148: Fibreglass boat recycling system

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Planet Care Human Effort Materials

146: Faux fur

Problem:

Should animals continue to be killed so their pelt is transformed into fur clothing? Since animal fur is treated with heavy dyes and chemicals including chromium and formaldehyde (both of which are highly toxic), it is slow to biodegrade. The bodies of fur animals are just wasted since they are not eaten, while their poop and blood are dumped into water systems as waste. Equally, faux fur made of plastics and acrylics is slow to biodegrade.

Solutions:

Artificial – “faux” – fur


Ecopel, a Franco-Chinese company, has developed a faux fur material made from recycled plastic bottles using a collection system internalized at the company’s mills in Asia. Ecopel works with more than 1,000 employees.

The fiber used, MODACrylic or polyester, allows the creation of a eco-friendly product. The resin is enriched with natural fibers such as cotton or hemp, to bring luster and softness. Ecopel is used by famous brands such as Gucci, Calvin Klein or Tommy Hillfiger and many others.

Fashion designer Stella McCartney OBE also uses a beauty-without-Cruelty Fur-Free-Fur product. In 2019, by Her own decision, the mink lining of a coat that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wore to Slovakia in 2008 has been replaced with faux fur.

Bolt Threads,whose products are made using mushroom-based leather, are collaborating with McCartney, Kering (the fashion house behind brands like Belenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta) and Adidas to create consortium to create a new range of faux fur.

In Russia, Sergey Leonov at the School of Biological and Medical Physics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology successfully bioengineered animal pelts and hides in petridishes. Such vertebrate cells used could come from an antelope, cheetah, chinchilla, crocodile, ermine, leopard, lynx, lion, marten, mink, sable, and stoat, indeed all species killed for their pelts. Marie Vlad has started up Furoid to make and sell the product.

What you can do: Do not use real fur unless it’s a hand-down, instead buy faux fur.

Discover Solution 147: Farms that float

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Materials Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

143: Face masks – recycling

Problem:

Face masks, part of personal protection equipment (PPE) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, are also proving a major new source of pollution, with used masks seen littering streets, countryside and waterways across the world. Once used, they can be destroyed at CO2 producing hazardous incineration plants or landfilled, publicly and privately.

Solution:

When Plaxtil in Chatelleraut, Vienne France was started up in 2017, it had specialised in the circular economy of recycling clothes by turning them into a plastic-like material. Since June 2020, it has transitioned to recycling masks.


First, they are collected and placed in “quarantine” for four days. They are then ground down into small pieces and subjected to ultraviolet light to ensure they are completely decontaminated before the recycling process begins. The masks could be turned into a vast array of different objects, but for the moment Plaxtil is turning them into products that can be used in the fight against Covid, such as plastic visors.

At first the French company collected 70,000 masks from the 50 collection points that we ourselves set up in the city, producing between 2,000 and 3,000 recycled products. Since July, overwhelmed with requests, Plaxtil has been in contact with the public authorities to set up a national mask recycling channel.(plaxtil.com)

Not far from Plaxtil, is Elise in Lille who have transitioned their conventional waste collection business (from paper to furniture, batteries or even computers) to make COVID-19 waste bins placed at around fifty collection points in Lille alone.

When the bags are full, they are carefully closed and picked up by Elise’s collectors then sent to their premises to be treated in energy recovery. Elise has been able to treat around 200,000 masks for a total weight of 739 kg.

A third company Cosmolys, also near Lille, recovers the polypropylene contained in the masks to produce granules for making garden furniture.

What you can do: Dispose of your masks in an eco-friendly manner.

Discover Solution 144: The Fairphone

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Planet Care Your Home

138: Endangered Species Adoption

Problem:

Tens of species are vanishing from the face of the Earth every day. Almost one third to one-half of all species could become extinct by 2050. Well over 900 plants and animals are endangered, and hundreds more are threatened. Many of the reasons certain animals are disappearing forever are because of human activities.

Solution:

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), founded in 1961, has a program “Adopt an animal now”, whereby those interested visit and by one click can choose from their range of adoption animals, donating from £3 per month to protect precious habitats around the world and all the species which rely on them.


The Australian branch of the WWF also presents their own range of threatened species.

Not to be confused, The World Animal Foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 to raise public education regarding the preservation of the planet and the animals that inhabit it. WAF works through public education, research, investigations, animal rescue, legislation, special events and direct action. Three years later it moved its headquarters to Vermilion.

WorldAnimalFoundation.com, acts as a one-stop information portal for people wishing to learn more about animals and the earth.

Visitors can print dozens of free flyers and fact sheets and surf hundreds of pages regarding wildlife, endangered species, companion animals, aquatic animals and farm animals.

One of their solutions is “Adopt an Endangered Species”. WAF Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Kit comes in a deluxe WAF folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Adopt An Endangered Species Animal Adoption Certificate
  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Endangered Species Animal
  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues
  • How You Can Help Animals And The Environment.

Over in France, in 2008, Kevin Desmond, author/compiler of “Planet Savers: 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists”, attempted to set up an ngo EvE-Urgent.org, short for Espèce-ville espèce (species-town-species) whereby towns and cities worldwide were each encouraged to adopt a threatened species as its totem and to take measures to protect it and its ecosystem from extinction.

To select their species a town had decided to sponsor, the EvE-Urgent website recommended looking for it in the local biodiversity or consulting the Natura 2000 network. But nothing prevented them from choosing one abroad. In order to avoid duplication, an “EvE counter” for the participating cities was set up.

Once the species had been chosen and the information about it has been collected, the project can be presented to the municipality. But “the engagement of the town hall is not obligatory”, the site specified.

In case of refusal, citizens could themselves create an association with the help of EvE-Urgent.org in order to contribute to the protection of the species, either by collaborating with specialized NGOs, or by acting directly on the ground. Fund-raising events, cultural and sporting could raise funds for the species chosen.

Among the first to adopt was the city of Bordeaux choosing the Angélique des estuaries which grows alongside the River Garonne and subsequently creating a Park named after the species. Although never developed, the EvE-Urgent solution could still be used….

What you can do: Adopt at least one threatened species.

Discover solution 139: Using landfill gas for ceramic kilns

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Planet Care Your Home

129: Elevated villages

Problem:

AGW causing the rise in global sea levels has been flooding the Pacific atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands. This also includes Vanua Levu, the second largest of Fiji’s 106 habitable islands in the South Pacific and villages such as Vunidogoloa in Korolao District.

Solution:

Elevated villages.


In 2006, the Fijian Government decided to abandon the flooded village and build a new Vunidogoloa for its 130 inhabitants, a couple of miles (2 km) inland. Eight years and half a million dollars later, on the January 16, 2014, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji inaugurated the new village of thirty timbered homes on stilts on a hillside.

Further Fijian villages have been completely relocated and two are in the initial stages of moving: Denimanu (Yadua Island) and Vunisavisavi, both of which have been provided with cyclone-proof houses donated by USAID. This leaves about 40 villages earmarked for relocation in the short to medium term as sea levels continue to rise. In 2015, a Fijian official said the government was looking at possibly relocating as many as 676 villages.

Other alternative solutions for flooding villages will include dredging and reclaiming land.

 

Discover Solution 130: Keeping your house out of the water

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Energy Planet Care

127: Electroculture

Problem:

Chemical fertilisers and weed killers such as Monsanto’s glyphosate have been legally proved to be lethally harmful to both Nature and to human beings.

Solution:

Since the beginnings of electricity in the 1780s, experiments have been made to use electro-magnetic energy to increase the crop yield of fruits and vegetables.


In 1923 independent researcher Justin Etienne Christofleau of La Queue-les-Yvelines, France published “Augmentation des récoltes et sauvetage des arbres malades per l’électroculture” and obtained patents concerning his Electro-Magnétique Terro Celeste. His system made use of “lightning rod” antenna, but with a buried antenna connected to buried north-south wires. Christofleau explained that it is not electricity as we know it but a breath of energy between heaven and earth, which stimulates and increases the fertility of the place.

For the next twenty years, the Frenchman was persecuted for his inventions by lobbyists from the agrochemical industry who even attempted to have the word electroculture deleted from national dictionaries and encyclopaedias. In spite of this, Christofleau’s system was adopted by farmers all over, in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and even China.

He was not alone. In the August 1935 issue of Popular Science, an article entitled “Electricity Controls Tree Growth” reported on the experiments of reputed French nurseryman Georges Truffaut at his Laboratories in Versailles. He planned to invent the orchard of the future where it would be possible to control (advance or delay) the growth of trees and fruits.

Seventy years later, electroculture has finally been validated.

Since the 1990s, Chinese scientists have been developing electroculture. In 2019, The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and other government research institutes released the findings of nearly three decades of study in areas with different climate, soil conditions and plantation habits. They hailed the results as a breakthrough.

Across the country, from Xinjiang’s remote Gobi Desert to the developed coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean, vegetable greenhouse farms with a combined area of more than 3,600 ha (8,895 ac) have been taking part in an electroculture programme. The technique has boosted vegetable output by 20 to 30 %. Pesticide use has decreased 70 to 100 %. while fertiliser consumption has dropped more than 20 %.

In a series of large greenhouses, with a combined area of 3,600 has (8,895 ac), the vegetables grow under bare copper wires, set about 10 ft (3 m) above ground level and stretching end to end under the greenhouse roof. The wires are capable of generating rapid, positive charges as high as 50,000 volts, or more than 400 times the standard residential voltage in the US.

The cables run the full length of the greenhouses and carry rapid pulses of positive charge, up to 50,000 volts. These high-voltage bursts kill bacteria and viral plant diseases both in the air and the soil. They also affect the surface tension of any water droplets on the leaves of plants, accelerating vaporization.

What you can do: Tell local farmers about electroculture

Tomorrow’s solution: Lower-cost electrolysis

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Planet Care

123: e-faunalert

Problem:

The disappearance of raptors is an increasingly alarming problem in the Mediterranean. Collisions and electrocutions on power lines are among the biggest threats affecting populations in the region.

Solution:


To tackle this issue, IUCN’s Center for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) has developed the free mobile application e-faunalert, which helps both to identify and map dangerous areas posing an electrocution or collision risk for these species on such infrastructures.

Conceived for all types of users, from scientists, to the conservation community, governments, energy sector stakeholders to general global audiences, e-faunalert helps to collect data to quickly identify areas of intervention and thus facilitate decision-making in the planning of future power lines.

Moreover, the app contains information on the technical characteristics of pylons and different types of electrocution or collision incidents. It also allows to download georeferenced images, create and join workgroups to maximize fieldwork, as well as sharing data with other colleagues.

The programme has made it possible for specialists from Spain and North Africa to exchange information, organize cross-border expeditions with Moroccan and Spanish ornithologists to monitor and create a census of raptors in Morocco.

This tool has been developed in collaboration with Fundación Amigos del Águila Imperial Ibérica, el Lince Ibérico y Espacios Naturales Privados and is part of the project Safe Flyways – reducing infrastructure-related bird mortality in the Mediterranean”, funded by the MAVA Foundation.

What you can do: Download e-faunalert for your locality.

Discover Solution 124: effective altruism

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Planet Care

122: Mercator Climate Clocks

Problem:

Clocks have remained limited to telling the time, sometimes indicating the hours, minutes and seconds left before a NewYear. How can they indicate that time is running out?

Solution:


The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin have developed Carbon Clock which digitally shows how much CO2 can be released into the atmosphere to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively. With just a few clicks, you can compare the estimates for both temperature targets and see how much time is left in each scenario.

The Climate Clock widget

You can get one for your device or website at climateclock.world

Metronome, ticking away since 1999, is a public art installation and digital clock made of large orange LED digits and embedded on the side of a sky scraper at the south end of Union Square in New York City.

In 2020, it was re-programmed as an MCC climate clock by artists Andrew Boyd and Gan Golan to illustrate a critical window for action to prevent the effects of global warming from becoming irreversible.

From Saturday September 19, 2020, to coincide with the beginning of Climate Week in NYC, Metronome started showing the time remaining until the Earth’s carbon budget is used up as a result of concerns related to global warming above the 1.5°C threshold that was outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The fifteen digits counted down the years (1 digit), days (3 digits), hours (2 digits), minutes (2 digits), and seconds (2 digits) from left to right, in conventional 24-hour format with spaces to the left of each digit. It is called a “climate clock”.

The renamed Climate Clock unveiled by artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd warned at 1:30 p.m. Monday that there were 7 years, 101 days, 17 hours, 29 minutes and 22 seconds until Earth’s carbon budget is depleted, based on current emission rates. Golan and Boyd’s first Climate Clock was displayed on September 18, 2019 on a former gasometer in Berlin, Germany. They’ve also made a personal countdown clock for teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg

Based on the amount of carbon used every day (at 2017 levels), 1.5 degrees of warming will occur in about seven and a half years. The Union Square Climate Clock now puts a countdown to that deadline in one of New York’s most public places.

All the more reasons that the solutions to be found on this website should be stepped up.

What you can do: Keep an eye on climate clocks!

Discover Solution 123: an App to monitor threatened raptors

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Human Effort Materials Planet Care Your Home

117: ecovelopes

Problem:

Traditional manufacture of envelopes were not concerned about the source of their paper nor of the chemical after-effects of their glues.

Solution:

Recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes.


In 1997 Emmanuel Druon and a small team set up a factory they called Pocheco in Forest-sur-Marque close to Lille, northern France. Their goal was to manufacture ecovelopes, recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes, while creating zero waste during the operation.

Druon based his organisation on “Ecolonomie”, where instead of a hierarchy, there is a four-strong steering committee. Paper is sourced from sustainable managed forests, unbleached and lighter weight, with solvent free ink and glue. The amount of paper waste from envelope cutting is sold and then recycled.

The vegetal roof of the plant hosts several beehives and also recuperates rainwater, which is then used both to dilute ink, clean chines and to supply water for the toilets. This water, polluted by the ink is then sent to a station where it is cleaned by 80 bamboos, then sent back to the building, ready to be used again. Energy from the machines is used to heat the factory, while solar power contributes to electricity.

Before long Pocheco were manufacturing some 2 billion ecovelopes per year. Also part of his Ecolonomie aproach, Druon collaborated with a Finnish paper manufacturers (UPM) so that every time one tree is cut down to make wood pulp , another four are planted in return, working out at 300,000 trees per year.

Pocheco’s Canopée Reforestation: Association for reforestation of the Northern Region of France has seen some 7,000 trees planted since 2009.

In 2019, Adare Post, producers of more than 115 million envelopes with transparent windows, partnered with Pocheco to produce windows made of pulp instead of plastic film. This made these business ecovelopes 100% recyclable and biodegradable, saving some 30 tonnes of plastic landfill waste every year. In the face of internet emails and text messages, Pocheco has also diversified to producing bags for use by pharmacies.

What you can do: Use recyclable and biodegradable envelopes and packages.

Tomorrow’s solution: Sunfire, fuel made from carbon dioxide

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Planet Care

116: ECOSTRESS

Problem:

With the increasing number of heat waves, droughts, forest fires and flooding, it is vital to make precise observations of the damage and how to repair it.

Solution:

A precision instrument is in place to survey the temperature of plants growing in specific locations on the Planet over the course of a solar year. These measurements give scientists insight into the effects of events such as heat waves and droughts on crops which can be used for vital precision farming.


It is called ECOSTRESS (Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station). This is a multispectral thermal infrared radiometer developed by Joshua B. Fisher and a team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., at a cost of under US$30 million.

ECOSTRESS was selected in July 2014 as part of the “Earth Venture” program of small, targeted science investigations; the first 1,200 lb. (550 kg) payload would monitor the mechanism of “transpiration”, whereby water is lost from plants through tiny pores in their leaves, as well as evaporation from the surrounding soil. When examined together, this analysis is known as “evapotranspiration”.

It was delivered to the ISS by the SpaceX Dragon on July 3, 2018. Astronauts performed a six-hour spacewalk to prepare for ECOSTRESS to arrive.

A Canadian robotic arm took ECOSTRESS off its cargo spacecraft and passed it to Kibo, the Japanese robotic arm for installation. ECOSTRESS then began to use the space station’s power and communications to collect data and send it down to Fisher and his team.

The program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Its data was published via the open-access TERN Data Discovery Portal in Australia.

In January 2019, Joshua Fisher presenting his research at the Soil Science Society of America International Soils Meeting, Jan. 6-9, 2019 in San Diego, commented,

The instrument measures variations of ground temperatures to within a few tenths of a degree, and it does so with unprecedented detail: It’s able to detect temperature changes at various times of day over areas the size of a football field.

These measurements help scientists assess plant health and response to water shortages, which can be an indicator of future drought. They can also be used in observing heat trends, spotting wildfires and detecting volcanic activity.

When in July and August 2019, Europe was hit by two massive heat waves, their extremes of temperature, +110° Fahrenheit (+44.1° Celsius) were carefully measured by ECOSTRESS which mapped the surface, or ground temperature, of four European cities – Rome, Paris, Madrid and Milan.

In the images, hotter temperatures appeared in red and cooler temperatures appeared in blue. They showed how the central core of each city was much hotter than the surrounding natural landscape due to the urban heat island effect, a result of urban surfaces storing and re-radiating heat throughout the day. Soon after, ECOSTRESS captured imagery of fires in the Amazon regions of Brazil and Bolivia. It was also used to estimate terrestrial latent heat flux in the Heihe River basin of Northwest China.

Tomorrow’s solution: ecovelopes are friendlier

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Planet Care

115: Permanently positioned ecological moorings

Problem:

The activity of diving in the Mediterranean is very intensive: 40 to 50.000 dives a year on the coast of the Natura 2000 Estérel site. But for every dive, it means an anchor that’s thrown onto a delicate marine habitat. As the traditional method of mooring boats continues to fail, rust, and destroy such habitats, people have begun to look for better methods of addressing these issues.

 

Solution:

Permanently positioned ecological moorings


While diving at sensitive sites might be forbidden by classifying them based on the UK’s SSSIs (sites of special scientific interest), one solution is in permanent ecological moorings which eliminate the impact of anchors without restricting activity. Moorings generally comprise three main parts, the anchor (helical), the link (or rode) and the float.

For example, the Hazelett Elastic Mooring System, connected to a block or Helix screw anchor, floats above the sea bed with a minimal environmental footprint.

There are many practical and even artistic uses. Famed artist Christo used Hazelett elastics to stabilize is the floating piers installation on Italy’s Lake Iseo. They held 226,000 high-density polyethylene cubes and 70,000 square meters of yellow fabric. Over a 16 day period in 2016, the work of art attracted 1.2 million visitors.

In October 2018, the ngo “Planet Cavem” with the theme “Our mother … Mediterranean in all its states!” set about equipping dive sites with ecological anchors built by Parlier Environnement SAS.

They have positioned 13 scattered units between Île d’Or and Cap Roux. Four moorings reserved for diving boats frequenting the Cap d’Antibes were also installed and in regular use.

They were set up thanks to the partnership between the Alpes-Maritimes Departmental Council, the French Federation of Underwater Sports and Studies and the Antibes Juan-les-Pins Commune.

What you can do: If you go pleasure boating, moor with respect for the ocean floor.

Tomorrow’s solution: Monitoring Planet Earth by satellite

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Planet Care Human Effort

111: The Earthshot Prize

Problem:

Repairing and protecting our Planet will need major inventives to encourage hundreds of solutions described on this website.

Solution:

The Earthshot Prize


On January 1, 2020 Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, joined forces with Sir David Attenborough to launch a multi-million pound prize which will be awarded to five winners a year over 10 years, comprising at least 50 innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.

The prestigious prize, inspired by US President John F. Kennedy’s ambitious “Moonshot” lunar program, called the Earthshot Prize is a bid a bid to galvanise a decade of action to repair the planet. earthshotprize.org

Many of these solutions can be found throughout 366solutions.com. Many more are coming!

Why not follow us on social media or better yet, support 366solutions on Patreon (for only €3 / $5 per month)

What you can do: Submit your solutions to the Earthshot Prize, but also publish them here at www.366solutions.com

Discover solution 112: A healthier approach to eating

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Planet Care

110: Earthquake warning system

Problem:

Although earthquake fault lines are well mapped and the probabilities of earthquakes reasonably well known, people continue to build and to live beside them.

Solution:

Earthquake warning system


On May 22, 1960 the earthquake in Valdivia, Chile was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. It occurred on a fault that is almost 1,000 mi. (1600 km) long and 150 mi.(24o km) wide, dipping into the earth at a shallow angle.

Various studies have placed it at 9.4–9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It lasted approximately 10 minutes. Various estimates of the total number of fatalities from the earthquake and tsunamis have been published, ranging between 1,000 and 7,000 killed.

Fifty years later, on 11 March 2011 a magnitude-9.1 earthquake struck 44 mi. (70 km) off Japan, the country’s warning system was little help for people in the path of the torrential tsunami that swamped the coast; nearly 16,000 died.

At a two-day emergency summit at UC Berkeley a month later, an early warning system called ShakeAlert won a US$6.5 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California, to build a prototype. It had been developed over the years by two seismologists Thomas H. Heaton at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, and Richard Allen, at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

In 1985, Heaton had laid out his idea for a “seismic computerized alert network” in a 1985 paper in Science. But though automated systems could act immediately to prevent chemical spills, electrical fires, and other catastrophes, they would do little to protect San Francisco from an earthquake such as the one in 1906, which was centered near the city.

Over the years, inspired by warning systems in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, and Chile, among others, which emphasize detecting earthquakes at the source and warning distant cities before the seismic waves arrive, Heaton and Allen collaborated with Japanese seismologists to develop a system they called ShakeAlert. Many people thought such a system would be useless in fault-riddled California, where earthquakes seem to erupt underfoot anywhere, but Heaton and Allen persevered, deploying a pilot system in 2012.

From 2019, with important funding, ShakeAlert covering every corner of Los Angeles, in schools, at businesses, even on smartphone applications is in place. If all goes as planned, this dense network of 1,650 seismometers in California, Oregon, and Washington will detect the first, weak waves of an earthquake and relay a 10-second warning of ground shaking to come. To start, those warnings will go to first responders, power companies, and transit agencies.

But in the next couple of years, alerts could roll out to the public to provide at least a few seconds of warning. Not much time, but enough to take cover. New technologies will sharpen the warnings, too. GPS sensors, though slower than seismometers, can still capture shaking strong enough to outdo conventional instruments, enabling the system to cope better with the biggest earthquakes. Heaton expects artificial intelligence, especially neural networks, will in the next few years be able to discern P waves, an earthquake’s first whisper, from seismic noise earlier than the existing algorithms.

What you can do: Stay alert to earthquake warnings.

Discover solution 111: No longer the moonshot, but the earthshot

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

109: Earth Overshoot Day

Problem:

Since 1961, the first year consistent United Nations statistics were available, humanity’s demand on resources has gone from being within the means of what nature could support to significantly over budget. Our planet went into global overshoot in the early 1970s. A symbolic indicator had to be created which would show the world the urgency to find and apply solutions.

Solution:

In themed 1980s, Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation came up with a smart solution which he called Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) or Ecological Debt Day which marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.


For the rest of the year, by maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we are operating in overshoot.

In 1990, EOD was October 11, by 2000, it was September 23, by 2019 it was July 29. By 2020, EOD had moved back by more than three weeks to August 22. but only due to the global coronavirus lockdown. Solutions for making it move further back can be found on overshootday.org but also here on 366Solutions.com

What you can do: Keep Earth Overshoot day in the back of your mind for being frugal.

Discover solution 110: early warning system for earthquakes

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Human Effort Planet Care

108: e-cigarette

Problem:

An estimated 1.69 billion pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash each year. A cigarette does not readily biodegrade. The core of the butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose.

Cigarette butts are among the most abundant types of human-produced garbage in the world’s oceans. Most of the roughly 5.5 trillion cigarettes manufactured globally every year contain a plastic-based filter, made of cellulose acetate, according to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project.

Sunlight will degrade it and break it into very small particles, which wind up in the soil or swept in water, contributing to water pollution.

More recently, when testing the effects of soaked used cigarette butts on two fish species (saltwater topsmelt and freshwater fathead minnow), researchers found that the nicotine from one cigarette butt per liter of water was enough to kill half of the exposed fish. It is not clear which toxin was responsible for the death of the fish.​

Solution:

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes


The first electronic cigarette was developed in America. In 1963 Herbert A. Gilbert applied for a patent for his “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette”, and the patent was granted in 1965. Gilbert’s invention was nicotine-free, but it produced a flavoured vapour that was supposed to replace tobacco smoke. Gilbert actually got as far as making prototypes of the gadget, but there was not any real commercial interest.

There were some technical challenges, too. Gilbert’s design relied on battery power, but battery technology in the early 1960s was a long way behind where it is now. Rechargeable batteries were expensive and usually heavy; conventional batteries were expensive and had limited energy storage. The first electronic cigarette was ahead of its time both socially and technologically, but after Gilbert’s patent was granted the concept sank into obscurity for almost 40 years: the stored energy could not be withdrawn fast enough.

In 2001, Hon Lik of Beijing, China, a 52-year-old research pharmacist, who worked as a research pharmacist for a company producing ginseng products reportedly created an electronic cigarette after his father, also a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. Lik thought of using a high frequency, piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine. This design created a smoke-like vapor. Lik found that using resistance heating obtained better results and the difficulty was to scale down the device to a small enough size.

In 2003, he registered a patent and the e-cigarette was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market the following year. E-cigarettes entered the European market and the US market in 2006 and 2007. The company that Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, registered an international patent in November 2007 changing its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally “like smoke”) later the same month.

The number of e-cigarette brands sold on the internet is large and the variety of flavours staggering: more than 460 brands and 7700 flavours. Roughly 10.8 million American adults are currently using e-cigarettes, and more than half of them are under 35 years old, a U.S. study suggests.

From their very roots, what they do, to where they end up, vapor cigarettes have a far lighter carbon footprint than their combustible counterparts. Designed to be reusable, they last a very long time, and only e-cigarette cartridges get changed out according to the smoker’s usage.

They are not a landfill burden but they do pose an environmental threat of considerable proportions. Instead of merely being thrown away, these complex devices present simultaneously a biohazard risk with potential high quantities of leftover or residual nicotine and an environmental health threat as littered electronic waste.

While most batteries are recyclable, unfortunately, many vapers tend to throw their old ones in the trash. Whether it is vape pens or mods, all vaporizers operate on li-ion batteries. Some may last longer than others, but the result is that sooner or later, these will be disposed of and replaced.

According to their manufacturers, safe disposal of li-ion batteries requires ensuring that they are fully discharged and cooled, then submerging them in cold saltwater for two weeks—covered securely with a lid—before wrapping them in newspaper and placing them in the trash. In addition, the zinc and manganese recycled from such batteries can be used as fertilizer (see entry)

What you can do: If you smoke, make it eco-friendly.

Discover solution 109: Global warning about our limited resources

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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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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

101: Documentary films

Problem:

Poor communication can lead to ignorance of the dangerous situations which the Planet has deteriorated.

Solution:

Well-made and promoted documentary films urging solutions to protect the Planet.


From 1903, with British cinematographer F. Martin Duncan’s Unseen World series about microscopic creatures, the big screen has served that purpose.

Between 1968 and 1975, the television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau focussed on marine biodiversity and warned that life in the oceans had diminished 40 % in just 20 years.

Following former United States Vice President Al Gore’s bestseller book Earth in the Balance, and his slide show An Inconvenient Truth given to over one thousand audiences worldwide, from 2006 a namesake film version became the eleventh highest grossing documentary film to date in the United States.

In 2007, billionaire actor Leonardo DiCaprio co-wrote and narrated 11th Hour. Through interviews with experts in many scientific fields, as well as prominent activists and politicians, the film seeks to convince viewers, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the planet is in danger and that action needed to be taken immediately if we are to have any chance of reversing the negative consequences.

In the UK, the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) is best known for its highly regarded nature documentaries presented by David Attenborough. Life on Earth: A Natural History sold to 100 territories and was watched by an estimated audience of 500 million people worldwide. In Blue Planet II (2017) and Climate Change – The Facts, Sir David, aged 93, discusses the science of climate change and possible solutions to counteract it, including plastic recuperation.

In 2019 Australian actor-turned-filmmaker Damon Gameau took a different approach in his film 2040, Join the Regeneration. In this he structures the film as a one-way conversation with his four-year-old daughter, who will be 25 when the titular year arrives and, he hopes, part of a brighter and better world.

Gameau’s documentary bills itself as a “journey to explore what the future could look such as by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us.”

Working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), The Anthropocene Project, created by renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal is a multidisciplinary body of work combining fine art photography, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and scientific research to investigate human influence on the state, dynamic, and future of the Earth.

Through evocative photography, a documentary, 360° cinematography, and captivating augmented-reality installations, this multimedia project explains the emergence of the Anthropocene epoch, distinguished by human-caused changes to our planet. As part of this the RCGS offered #OnlineClassroom, its free, bilingual learning tools to all Canadians to support teachers, parents and students isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I Am Greta is a 2020 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Nathan Grossman, following climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

What you can do: Download and watch these movies.

Discover Solution 102: Dopper bottle from Holland

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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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Planet Care

99: Digital nose forest fire alarm

Problem:

Raging wildfires continue to wipe out not only homes but also huge swathes of natural land, from Australia to California and dozens of other countries in between.  In a wildfire, each minute matters; a fire might move as quickly as 14 mph , so early detection might mean saving a few miles of forest and potentially stopping the blaze before it reaches homes

Solution:

“Digital nose” forest fire alarm.


Entel Ocean of Santiago, Chile’s largest telecommunications company teamed up with the AI start-up DataRobot to produce a sensor which can literally “sniff” the air in forests to alert fire-fighters in case of fire.

Using an IOT sensor, these “digital noses”, (vigilante digital ) small, very sturdy white boxes that are installed high up on a tree, are not only able to identify fine particles, but also the humidity and temperature of forest air. Once collected, this data is fed into a system that uses artificial intelligence to determine with great precision the type of smoke and the danger posed to the forest.

When a strong threat is identified, a message is sent to the nearest firefighting teams to intervene as quickly as possible.

This is much less expensive than installing cameras. For its pilot phase, Data Robot and Entel Ocean installed 300 sensors in the Chilean forests reporting that they have saved up to 12 minutes between the time of detecting a fire and responding to firefighters.

What you can do: Tell forestry personnel about digital noses.

Tomorrow’s solution:Dish washing without detergent.

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Planet Care

95: De-extinction via DNA

Solution:

One of the most powerful tools to fight biological obliteration is CRISPR, (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) involving slicing DNA apart then adding and subtracting genes at will.


In 1987, researchers at Osaka University studying the function of Escherichia coli genes first noticed a set of short, repeated DNA sequences, but they did not understand the significance.

Six years later, another microbiologist, Francisco Mojica at the University of Alicante in Spain, noted the sequences in a different single-celled organism, Haloferax mediterranei. The sequences kept appearing in other microbes and in 2002, the unusual DNA structures were given a name: CRISPR.

In 2012, Jennifer Doudna, from UC Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, at Umea University, Sweden, showed CRISPR could be hijacked and modified. Essentially, they had turned CRISPR from a bacterial defence mechanism into a DNA-seeking missile strapped to a pair of molecular scissors. For this they were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Their modified CRISPR system worked extremely well, finding and cutting any gene they chose. The floodgates opened, and CRISPR research, which had long been the domain of molecular microbiologists, skyrocketed. The number of articles referencing CRISPR in preeminent research journal Nature has increased by over 6,000 % between 2012 and 2018.

One scientist who is using CRISPR for a particular de-extinction is Ben Novak, a lead scientist with conservation non-profit Revive & Restore in Sausalito, California. Novak is working to bring back the passenger pigeon, once North America’s most abundant bird. The last passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, rendering the species extinct.

Novak spends most of his time in a facility southwest of Melbourne, Australia, working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) breeding band-taileds. To completely resurrect the passenger pigeon, Novak and his team are working to create a hybrid pigeon with parts of the CRISPR system embedded within its genes. The hybrids will be bred for several generations until the offspring DNA matches that of the extinct species. The first generation of ‘revived’ pigeons is expected to hatch in 2022.

In 2019, scientists at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk and the South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation have succeed in extracting liquid blood from heart vessels of a 42,000-year-old Lenskaya breed foal excavated in the Batagai depression. The autopsy showed beautifully preserved internal organs. Scientists already indicated that they were confident of success in extracting cells from this foal to de-extinct its species.

Elsewhere, in a study published in Scientific Reports, a team of scientists from Japan and Russia at Kindai University, in central Japan announced that they have managed to recover cells from the left hind leg of a 28,000-year-old juvenile mammoth that was discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2011. Cell nuclei from the mammoth were successfully implanted in mouse cells were able to react and that there is biological activity.

In 2019, David Liu, a chemist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts invented “prime editing” which further improves on the CRISP-Cas-9 solution by offering more targeting flexibility and greater editing precision.

Although CRISPR should prove useful in de-extincting ancient species, perhaps more importantly in its ability to help living species that are in danger of becoming extinct, it is certainly a Planet-protecting solution.

This of course includes plants.

American chestnut trees dominated the East Coast of the U.S. until 1876, when a fungus carried on imported chestnut seeds devastated them, leaving less than 1 % by 1950. To make blight-resistant trees, scientists have inserted a wheat gene into chestnut embryos, enabling them to make an enzyme that detoxifies the fungus. This chestnut tree is likely to become the first genetically modified organism to be released into the wild once it is approved by the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Genomic research on crops, for example, has already yielded plants that grow faster, produce more food, and are more resistant to pests or severe weather. Researchers may find new medicines or discover better ways to engineer organisms for use in manufacturing or energy.

What you can do: Help those organisations such as WWFN and IUCN to save threatened species.

Discover Solution 96: picnics delivered to your home

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Planet Care

94: De-extinction

Problem:

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction.

An estimated 50,000-70,000 plant species are used in traditional and modern medicine worldwide.

About 110 million tons (100 tonnes) tons of aquatic organisms, including fish, molluscs and crustaceans are taken from the wild every year and represent a vital contribution to world food security.

It is called the Sixth Extinction.

Solution:

De-extinction aka resurrection biology


A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reported the Earth BioGenome project where the DNA of all known eukaryotic life on Earth is being recorded. It is estimated to take 10 years, cost US$4.7 billion, and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage space (a petabyte is one quadrillion, or 1015 bytes).

“Eukaryotes” refers to all plants, animals, and single-celled organisms, all living things except bacteria and archaea (those will be taken care of by the Earth Microbiome Project). It is estimated there are somewhere between 10–15 million eukaryotic species, from a rhinoceros to a chinchilla down to a flea (and there are far smaller still).

Of the 2.3 million of these documented so far, scientists have sequenced fewer than 15,000 of their genomes (most of which have been microbes). One of the biggest questions is how, exactly, scientists will go about the gargantuan task of collecting intact DNA samples from every known species on Earth. Some museum specimens will be used, but many have not been preserved in such a way that the DNA could produce a high-quality genome. One important source of samples will be the Global Genome Biodiversity Network.

There is significant controversy over de-extinction or resurrection biology, or species revivalism. Critics assert that efforts would be better spent conserving existing species, that the habitat necessary for formerly extinct species to survive is too limited to warrant de-extinction, and that the evolutionary conservation benefits of these operations are questionable.

In 2017, a report published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, found that de-extinction of extinct animals for the species in New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia would be harmful to biodiversity. The lead author of research is the professor of biology at the Carleton University, Canada, Joseph R. Bennett, who used the extant analog to predict the result of the de-extinction of extinct animals with his six colleagues from Australia and New Zealand.

Indeed Michael Crichton’s best-selling dystopian novel “Jurassic Park” (1990) and Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film of the same name (grossing USUS$1 billion) have led people to believe that cloning dinosaurs back to life could only go terribly wrong. But there are an increasing number of cases where species might be “brought back to life”.

Cloning involves extracting the nucleus from a preserved cell from the extinct species and swapping it into an egg of the nearest living relative. This egg can then be inserted into a relative host. It is important to note that this method can only be used when a preserved cell is available. This means that it is most feasible for recently extinct species.

For example, the banteng is an endangered species that was successfully cloned, and the first to survive for more than a week (the first was a gaur that died two days after being born). Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States extracted DNA from banteng cells kept in the San Diego Zoo’s “Frozen Zoo” facility, and transferred it into eggs from domestic cattle, a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

In The Embryo Project, Thirty hybrid embryos were created and sent to Trans Ova Genetics, which implanted the fertilized eggs in domestic cattle. Two were carried to term and delivered by Caesarian section. The first hybrid was born on April 1, 2003, and the second two days later. The second was euthanized, but the first survived and, as of September 2006, remained in good health at the San Diego Zoo.

What you can do: Donate to organisations working to prevent the extinction of threatened species.

Discover Solution 95: CRISPR via DNA

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Materials Planet Care

90: Crop fertilizer from recycled batteries

Problem:

Every year 6,600 tons (6,000 tonnes) of alkaline batteries are sold annually around Australia and the Battery Stewardship Council estimates that at the end of their useful life, 97% of these spent products are thrown away and end up in landfill sites where they leak into the soil, causing pollution.

Solution:

Recycling battery elements as crop fertilizer.


Envirostream is an Australian company that produces a mixed metal dust (MMD) containing cobalt, nickel, lithium and carbon from a 3,300 ton (3,000 tonne) per annum lithium-ion battery recycling plant and ships it to a South Korean company – SungEel –  for refining into chemicals that will be incorporated in new batteries.

In 2019 Envirostream began to assess the use of zinc and manganese, obtained from recycled alkaline batteries, as micro-nutrient supplements in fertilisers. It conducted an initial round of “glasshouse pot trials”, growing wheat in a variety of controlled scenarios including using the recycled zinc and manganese separately as fertiliser sulphates and a combination of the two metals as fertiliser grade sulphates. Testing was also conducted on growing the wheat using no fertiliser micro-nutrients.

From this, field trials are being carried out in near the rural town of Kojonup around 160 mi (260 km) from Perth in the wheat belt of Western Australia, a region that produces about 15.4 million tons (14 million tonnes) of grain annually and serves as a major contributor to Australia’s exports.

The Kojonup site was selected for its low pH, as well as accompanying zinc, manganese and phosphate deficiencies. Adding zinc would assist in making chlorophyll. In addition to Australian field trials, Envirostream, 74% owned by Lithium Australia,  intends to conduct further trials overseas in jurisdictions outside Australia which means seeking out partners willing to explore.

Prior to this in 2018, in Kärsämäki, central Finland, a team led by Mikko Joensuu and Joni Rahunen created a cleantech company called Tracegrow to recycle batteries made in Finland and also use the zinc and manganese to enrich soils for growing food crops.

Batteries are first crushed, then filtration and purification processes remove toxic elements such as mercury and nickel. It is important that these do not end up in the fertiliser as they could make their way into the food we eat so testing of the final product is rigorous. Once removed, they are sent on to be safely disposed of by hazardous waste treatment plants.

Initially, Tracegrow’s ZM-Grow fertiliser was used on tomatoes, cotton and avocados with promising results. On March 30th 2020 Tracegrow was granted an international patent and signed up a distribution partnership for Australia and New Zealand with ReNutrients PTY Ltd.

What you can do: Dispose of your used bateries, single use or recyclable, with care, as they may well bear fruit.

Discover Solution 90: cross-laminated timber

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Planet Care

88 : Coronal mass ejections (CME), early warning system

Problem:

Serious coronal mass ejections could cause global chaos disrupting electronic systems including satellites, navigation systems, GPS systems, communication systems, aircraft, power grids, radios, televisions and more. For perspective, the fastest ejections would take just 15 to 18 hours to hit Earth.

Solution:

An early-warning system.


NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA) have teamed up to develop a forecast system designed to provide an extra day for shutting down vital electronic systems.  The project, which also involves the European Space Agency and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, aims to develop a plasma analyzer.

The creation of the instrument will be spearheaded by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory of University College London. Their research demonstrates how the new warning system can both measure and model coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and how this can help predict how CMEs will affect the Earth. The new detection system would use cameras on satellites in multiple locations to estimate where the approaching solar storm is located and in what direction it is travelling.

This data is then combined with coronographs from the sun itself, provided by the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), which show how the CME moves towards Earth. The scientists have already successfully tested a model of the system on eight mass ejections and NASA plans to continue testing. The research group’s next step is to create an interface that makes the warning system easy to use. NASA hopes the system will be able to assist in monitoring space weather in the future. (nasa.gov)

In the next 5 years NOAA and ESA with support from the UK are planning to launch two complementary solar monitoring satellites. On March 30, 2020, NASA decided to fund the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) mission for its heliophysics program, developed by a team lead by Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan.

Launched by July 2023, six cubesats In July 2023, SunRISE will get to orbit flying on a commercial satellite built by Maxar. A system called the Payload Orbital Delivery System, attached to the satellite, will release six SunRISE cubesats once in orbit. They will fly in a formation about (10 km) across, so forming a virtual radio telescope to detect and pinpoint emissions from the sun associated with solar storms.

The UK’s ‘plasma analyser’ will fly on ESA’s Lagrangian 5 space weather monitoring mission to observe solar wind. L5 is about one astronomical unit from Earth (the distance of the sun, or 93 million mi (150 million km), but off to the side of the Planet. The UK Space Agency is working cooperatively with ESA and the United States’ NOAA on their complementary Lagrangian 1 space weather monitoring spacecraft. RAL Space in the UK is also working on optical instruments for space weather missions under the current ESA programme.

What you can do: If you receive a CME alert from your social network or news media, immediately share it and be prepared to switch off all electronic devices.

Discover Solution 89: carbon footprint credit card

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Planet Care Human Effort

86: Coral Regrowth

Problem:

Coral care has to take place locally.

Solution:

We wrote about some solutions for ccoral reefs in Solution #84 Here are some more.


Coral Vita, a coral reef restoration company set up 2015 in Washington, DC by Yale University grads Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern.

Using a process called micro-fragmentation pioneered by the Mote Marine Laboratory, Coral Vita uses a terrestrial farm in Palmas, USA, to grow coral. The system accelerates coral growth up to 50 times the natural rate or from decades to 6-18 months.

This is perfect for many coral species such as Brain or Great Star that serve as critical building blocks for reefs, but grow too slowly to be feasible for restoration projects using ocean-based nurseries. Coral Vita can grow these corals in months rather than decades.

In 2019, Coral Vita created the world’s coral regrowth farm in Grand Bahama, including electrical installation, plumbing and aquaculture tanks. The farm aims to restore the island’s corals reefs, featured in the Netflix film “Chasing Coral,” and provide restoration projects with hardier corals by working together with scientists, communities, coral farmers, businesses, investors and governments.

Although the initial plan is to grow about 10,000 corals per year and serve as an education and visitation center, the long-term goal is to be growing millions of corals every year, restoring reefs worldwide. (coralvita.com)

Tamil
From 2017, a team led by H. Malleshappa, head of the Tamil Nadu State Climate Change Cell have deployed a semi-circle of concrete artificial coral reef modules 820 ft (250 m) from the vulnerable Vaan Island in the Gulf of Munnar.

Each module is 8 ft (2.5 m) in width, 6.6 ft (2 m) in height and 3ft (1 m) in longitudinal length, and weighs 2 tons (1.8 tonnes) In the first two phases, 4,600 modules have been deployed in eight months. Following signs of regenerat, with the funding from Adaptation Fund, the total number of artificial reefs is being increased to 10,000 in two layers.

Florida
In 2019, scientists working on Project Coral at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach in Tampa have spawned an Atlantic pillar coral in a lab setting. www.flaquarium.org

This is a world-first coral reef restoration and research advancement in which Atlantic coral, living for several years at the Center as part of a genetic archive, has been reproduced through induced spawning, setting a new stage for saving coral reefs in Florida and the Caribbean. Project Coral works in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens to create coral spawn, or large egg deposits, in a lab.

London, UK
Jamie Craggs, aquarist at the Horniman Aquarium started Project Coral and in 2013 became the first organization globally to develop protocols that replicate natural reef conditions, and the triggers for mass spawning events, in the lab, to predict and induce land-based spawning in a fully closed aquarium lab setting in order to investigate, counter and repair the impact of climate change on coral reef health and reproduction.

The team started working on the research in 2014 with the Staghorn coral, but then the focus shifted to pillar coral because of a disease that has been devastating to the Florida Reef Tract. Pillar coral are now classified as almost extinct since the remaining male and female clusters are too far apart to reproduce. This conservation effort enables coral sexual reproduction to occur entirely outside of the ocean using innovative technology. It also opens up the potential for coral de-extinction.

Southampton
Researchers led by Prof Jörg Wiedenmann at The Coral Reef Laboratory of the University of Southhampton, England have discovered that in warming oceans when some corals, instead of bleaching white, suddenly display fluorescent coloring they are fighting to survive.(Southampton.ac.uk)

Korea

POSCO (Pohang Steel Company) in conjunction with the Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST) and the Korean government have developed Triton, an artificial reef produced by steel slag, to create a healthy environment for marine life.

POSCO has supplied 1,418 units of Triton for marine forest projects such as artificial fish reefs executed by the government and municipalities. Triton is naturally made with high %ages of iron and calcium, which work to create the ideal conditions for seaweed and algae spore growth, and purifies contaminated sediment. These reefs can also help reef populations migrate to cooler waters. (poscoenc.com)

Mumbai
Siddharth Pillai, a teenage Class XI student from BD Somani School, Mumbai, India has found a way to make modular artificial reefs using 3D printing. He has named them after the late Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington.

In early 2019, several porous Linkin Park blocks, a combination of dolomite and cement in a 10-90 per cent ratio, weighing 24 lb (11 kg) each, were dropped near Puducherry in the Laccadive Sea. This design is replicable as well as stackable, enabling reefs as high as 3ft (1 m) and as wide as 66 ft (20 m) on the ocean bed. (bdsomaniinternationalschool.com)

France
Another solution has been developed during 2019 by David Branthôme, director of the Limousin Aquarium, and the I.Ceram company in Limoges, France: coral cuttings are installed on a piece of alumina (a special ceramic). Since ceramic is neutral, it does not have the disadvantages of plastic or concrete supports. (aquariumdulimousion.com)

Hong Kong
Architects and scientists at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have developed a novel method of repairing a coral reef in the nearby Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park – they have designed and 3D-printed 128 hexagonal clay tiles whose complex structures encourages coral attachment.

Israel
Maoz Fine and a team at Bar-Ilan University, together with the coral research lab at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences on the Gulf of Aqaba in Eilat, Israel Israel having analysed why Red Sea corals are more resilient are investigating how their lessons could be used to influence coral reef health and resilience in the central Pacific Islands. (life-sciences.biu.ac.il)

Australia
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its partners – including Southern Cross University – have also successfully pioneered a technique dubbed ‘coral IVF’ or larval reseeding. It is the first project of its kind to re-establish a population of juvenile corals from larvae settling directly on the reef in the hope the coral withstands the increasing threats to the reef. www.scu.edu.au

The team collects spawn from heat-tolerant corals that have survived bleaching, and rear millions of baby corals in specially designed tanks and coral nursery pools on the reef before delivering them onto target areas of damaged reefs to restore and repopulate them.

Divers use fine mesh nets to capture the microscopic eggs and sperm that float to the surface.The spawn is then placed in floating enclosures, designed by Professor Peter Harrison where they grow for up to a week before reseeding the baby corals (larvae) onto damaged reefs.

In another world first, robots are giving nature a helping hand by playing ‘stork” and delivering coral babies onto damaged reefs as part of the coral IVF technique. Known as LarvalBots, they are loaded with the coral larvae and cruise a LarvalBot trial just above the reef, spitting out the baby coral directly onto the targeted areas. a trial this year re-seeded an area of 3-hectares in just six hours.

What you can do: Adopt a coral at Coral Reef, join a coral conservation group or make a donation to their growing numbers.

Discover Solution 87: for bottles and buildings: cork

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Human Effort Planet Care

84: Cooling Coral

Problem:

Bleached coral reefs are dying around the world due to ocean anthropogenic global warming.

Solution:

Bring down the temperatures of the waters around the reefs by bringing up cooler water from deeper in the ocean. The problem is finding a long enough pipe.


Mo Ehsani, the Centennial Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona has developed innovative solutions for infrastructure renewal and repair for over 30 years.

Having pioneered the field of repair and strengthening of structures using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) products Ehsani left the full time academic world in 2010 to devote his time to the management of QuakeWrap, Inc., a company he founded in 1994.

His products have been used in the construction industry to repair high pressure pipelines, freeway underpasses, marine piles, historical structures and more.

One of these products, called StifPipe®, received the 2016 ASCE Innovation Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers as the world’s first green and sustainable pipe.

His game-changing technology for onsite-manufactured continuous pipe, called InfinitPipe, plays a significant part in the proposed coral reef bleaching answer through piping that is long enough to continually feed cooler water from nearby greater depths to the heat-stressed coral in the shallows.

The Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.​ In 2010 Nirmal Shah and a team of Reef Rescuers of  the Nature Seychelles set about restoring the coral bleaching within Cousin Island Special Reserve.

Utilising the ‘coral gardening’ concept, fragments of healthy coral were collected, raised in underwater nurseries and then transplanted onto a degraded reef. In eight years, 50,000 corals have been raised in underwater nurseries, of which over 24,000 were successfully transplanted, covering the area of a football field 5,600 ft² (5,225 m2).

Based on this experience, in December 2019, Nature Seychelles presented their toolkit to provide guidelines on how to complete a successful coral restoration project at the Reef Futures Symposium held in Key Largo, Florida. Six participating countries in the India Ocean, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius and Rodrigues have benefitted from the solution.

What you can do: Make a donation to Nature Seychelles.

Tomorrow’s solution : Green Christmas trees, in more way than one

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

83: Biodegradable contraceptives

Problem:

Today’s world population is 7.6 billion, and the United Nations projects that by 2100, the world population will be 11.2 billion. Can the Earth’s resources feed this many people?

Solution:

Contraceptives.


Alongside ethical family planning, sterilisation and vasectomy, the contraceptive should be regarded as a planet-protecting measure. One solution is the condom, a sheath-shaped barrier device, used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.

Early contraceptives were biodegradable. The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (1500 BC) describes a vaginal plug of lint, ground acacia branches and honey. Condoms, made of silk, were not always effective.

The ancient condom was found in Lund, Sweden, and is believed to have been made and used around 1640 A.D. It is made from pig intestine, although before latex, condoms made of sheepskin or intestine were not uncommon. Condoms made of dried sheep intestines were used by Roman soldiers to protect themselves during long campaigns away from home.

Neither rubber condoms which became available in 1855, nor latex condoms since the 1920s are biodegradable. About six to nine billion are sold a year. New innovations continued to occur in the condom market, with the first polyurethane condom, branded Avanti and produced by the manufacturer of Durex, introduced in the 1990s.

With the advent of AIDS (Acquired Immune Defiency Syndrome), the protective condom as mass-produced by Durex became even more popular. Worldwide condom use is expected to continue to grow: one study predicted that developing nations would need 18.6 billion condoms by 2015.

Biodegradable, latex condoms damage the environment when disposed of improperly and they also contain preservatives and hardening agents to make sure the rubber can withstand a fair amount of friction, making it harder for the condoms to break down in the landfill.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, condoms, along with certain other types of trash, cover the coral reefs and smother sea grass and other bottom dwellers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also has expressed concerns that many animals might mistake the litter for food.

The only biodegradable condom is made of a biological material, lambskin, made from the intestinal membrane of a lamb as used by the Romans, hence non-Vegan.

One such is the “Trojan”, a brand name of condoms and sexual lubricants manufactured by the Church & Dwight Company of Ewing Township, New Jersey. Although biodegradable it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. (churchdwight.com)

There are other methods. In 1951, the oral contraceptive pill was invented by Gregory G. Pincus and Min Chuch Chang, biologists at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Research, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in collaboration with Dr John Rock, obstetrician-gynaecologist of the Brookline Reproductive Clinic, Boston and again in collaboration with Dr Carl Djerassi of the Syntax Corporation, Mexico, who discovered the progestogenic agent, 19-Norsteroids. The US Food and Drug Administration approved “the pill” for public use in 1961, after extensive trials in Puerto Rico and Haiti.

The downside are the hormones in the pill, either progestin or a combination of progestin and synthetic estrogen, known as endocrine disruptors: women who take the pill end up passing some of them through their urine.

If they make it through the wastewater systems, the hormones can flush into rivers and streams altering fish reproductive systems and damaging ecosystem dynamics. The minipill is only made with progestin, a man-made form of the hormone progesterone made by the body.

Then there is the intrauterine device (IUD). During the late 1950s these were made of plastic with a nylon string. U.S. physician Howard Tatum’s innovation of the copper IUD in the 1960s brought with it the capital ‘T’ shaped design used by most modern IUDs. Together, Tatum and Chilean physician Jaime Zipper discovered that copper could be an effective spermicide and developed the first copper IUD, TCu200.

Not only does this contraceptive have incredible 99-plus % effectiveness, but it also requires just one small plastic T—either wrapped in copper or holding synthetic progesterone hormone—to prevent pregnancies for 3 to 12 years.

Physical waste is nearly nonexistent. Copper IUDs use up less than one tenth of an ounce (0.3 gm) of copper. Hormonal IUDs release small quantities of synthetic progesterone directly into the uterus, meaning that most of the hormone stays exactly where it is needed. In short, for the Planet, IUDs are the lesser of the three evils.

What you can do: When family planning, think carefully of your SOLUTION for our crowding Planet.

Tomorrow’s Solution: cooling down the coral reefs

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Human Effort Materials Planet Care

76: The cocoon that protects young trees

Problem:

Reforestation must also take place in arid and degraded land and saplings must be protected during the first months of their life.

Solution:

A biodegradable cardboard donut to protect tree seedlings.


In 2013 Arnout Asjes, Harrie Lövensteain, an arid land agronomist, and Jurriaan Ruys at the Land Life Company in Amsterdam had an innovative idea: to develop a system that enables trees to grow in arid and degraded land.

This is a 100% they call the cocoon which can hold 6.6 gallons (25 liters) of water underground to aid a seedling’s first critical year. Plantation is mapped using an AI database on land conditions.

In Matamorisca, Land Life intervened in 42 acres (17 ha) of barren land owned by the regional government and peppered them with Cocoons. Around 16,000 oaks, ashes, walnuts, rowans, and whitebeams were planted in May 2018, and the company reports that 96% of them survived that year’s scorching summer without extra irrigation, a critical mi.tone for a young tree.

The three-year-old startup recently raised US$2.6 million to expand its mission to reforest the world’s 865 million acres (2 billion ha) of degraded land. By 2030, the goal is to reach 350 million has – 20% more land than India

What you can do: If you are planning to plant trees in arid areas, check out Cocoons from the Land Life Company.

Discover Solution 77: scarves dyed with bacteria

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Energy Planet Care

75: Cloud-seeding rain-making chain

Problem:

China has to feed nearly 1.4 billion people, despite 40 % of its arable land suffering from degradation.

Solution:

Cloud-seeding rain-making chain of chambers.


The largest-ever weather modification program worldwide is named Tianhe and located across the Tibetan Plateau in China.

The name Tianhe originates from the ancient Chinese name for the Milky Way, which was the sky river that separated Niulang and Zhinyu in the folk tale “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl”.

The project, developed by researchers in 2016 at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, is covering an area larger than Alaska and three times the size of Spain with tens of thousands of fuel-burning chambers for cloud seeding to channel large amounts of additional artificial rainfall into China’s arid northern regions.

In 2018, the installation of hundreds of burning chambers on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang and neighbouring areas started, with a deadline of 2022.

Throughout the past months the program has been increasingly questioned and criticized, internationally and nationally: the Tibetan plateau feeds most of Asia’s major rivers, including Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Brahmaputra.

These streams serve as lifelines for a considerable proportion of the world population. The local and transnational implications of the Tianhe project, not only in terms of water supply, are as yet unknown.

Discover Solution 76: planting trees in arid land

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Planet Care Human Effort Your Home

71: Citizen Convention for Climate (CCC)

Problem:

How to get politicians to take action on climate change?

Solution:

Citizen Conventions


In November, 150 French citizens, male and female, were drawn by lot and given eight months to discuss and form their solutions for the Planet.

On Sunday June 21, 2020, La Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC) presented French President Emmanuel Macron with nearly one hundred proposals around five axes relating to the fight against global warming: produce and work, shelter, feed, move, consume.

Objective: a reduction of “at least 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”. These include making energy renovation of 20 million buildings compulsory by 2040, quadrupling the amount of the bicycle fund to 200 million Euros per year, which would finance bicycle paths, increasing the bonus for hybrid and electric cars by 25%, the deployment of short food circuits, and the curbing of overconsumption.

In response, the President pledged an additional €15 billion ($16.9 billion) to help address the issue, although not all the solutions have been adopted

On a European Union level, the month before, Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, proposed an alliance for a green recovery.

This movement, which brings together together 80 ministers, MEPs, CEOs, NGOs & Trade Unions joined by around thirty CEOs (Ikea, Unilever, Danone, Saint-Gobain, H & M, etc.) In her Green Deal, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen promised a “green, digital and resilient future”.

What you can do: Join or create a citizen’s convention in your country

Discover Solution 72: eco-friendly sandblasting

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Carbon Capture Planet Care

65: Storing carbon under the sea

Problem

It’s great to capture CO2, but it needs to be stored.

Solution:

Inject carbon dioxide into spaces under the seabed.


In January 2019, the Norwegian authorities granted the Northern Lights CCS Project, a full-scale pilot CCS, carried out by Equinor (former Statoil), Shell and Total, a permit to exploit an area in the North Sea for CO₂ injections.

The partners aim to capture CO2 at three plants in Southern Norway, liquefy it, and transport it over 430 mi (700 km) by ship to a hub near Kollsnes. From there, the CO₂ will be sent offshore via a pipeline for injection into a depleted well in the Johansen formation, about 20 miv(30 km) offshore from mainland Norway.

The three plants selected for CO2 capture are Yara’s Ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik, and the Fortum recycling plant in Oslo.

After completing feasibility studies for CO₂ capture in 2018, the plants are presently compiling FEED studies for the final investment decision, to be taken by the Norwegian Parliament in 2020/21.

The Northern Lights CCS Project is supported by CLIMIT, Norway’s national research programme for accelerating the commercialisation of CCS. CLIMIT aims to reach an annual CO2 capture capacity of 1.4 million tons (1.3 million tonnes) by 2022.

In May 2020 Equinor, Shell and Total made an initial investment of $680m (NOK 6.9bn) between them into the Northern Lights (CCS) project. The project will capture industrial and imported carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions to be injected into reserves from a terminal in Øygarden, on Norway’s west coast. (northernlightsccs.com)

Tip Meckel at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin and Philip Ringrose, an adjunct professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and geoscientist at the Equinor Research Centre in Trondheim, have calculated that the geological injection of CO₂ into 10,000 to 14,000 injection wells worldwide in the next 30 years, would meet the IPCC’s goal of using CCS to provide 13 % of worldwide emissions cuts (6 to 7 gigatons of CO₂) so achieving emissions cuts under the 2°C scenario by 2050. (beg.utexas.edu)

In September 2020, the Norwegian Government proposed to launch a $2.7 billion CCS project, named ‘Longship’, in Norwegian ‘Langskip’.

Apart from funding Northern Lights, the Government will implement carbon capture at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik as well as funding Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste incineration facility in Oslo, providing that the project secures sufficient own funding as well as funding from the EU or other sources.

Another first-time licence, allowing offshore exploration to select a site for storing CO₂ underground, was granted in December 2018 by the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA),. The holder of the licence is the Acorn CCS project, led by Pale Blue Dot Energy and centred on the St Fergus Gas Plant in northeast Scotland.

The project aims to capture 220,000 tons (0.2 million tonnes) of CO₂ from flue gases annually, for storage in depleted gas fields, beneath the North Sea. Instead of creating new infrastructure, existing offshore gas pipelines will be repurposed to transport CO₂ in the opposite direction.

In January 2019, the project estimated the available offshore storage capacity at 700 million tons (650 million tonnes) of CO₂ and suggested that the neighbouring port at Peterhead could be used to import 16 million tonnes of CO₂ for storage per year by ship, from the UK and Europe.

Before starting CO₂ injections, the Acorn project needs to apply for a storage permit from OGA, as soon a storage site has been selected.

In December 2018, the British government announced financial support for the project (£0.17 million). Earlier British CCS projects such as the Scottish Peterhead Project did not obtain public funds, after completion of the FEED studies.

At the end of April 2019, a research vessel left the Scottish coast to reach the Goldeneye Gas Platform, an abandoned offshore platform in the North Sea, about 60 mi (100 km) northeast of Peterhead.

A central part of the STEMM-CCS (Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture & Storage) project is a sub-seabed CO₂ release experiment. 3.3 tons (3 tonnes) of CO₂, augmented with inert chemical tracers, will be injected below the seafloor at the Goldeneye experimental site.

The experiment aims to test CO₂ leak detection and leak quantification with help of chemical sensors. The project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

This initiative is supported by an analysis made by a team of scientists led by Jonathan Scafidi and a team of scientists at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh of the Beatrice oilfield, 15 mi. (24 km) off the north-east coast of Scotland. Using a computer model, the team calculated that over a 30-year period, the scheme would be around 10 times cheaper than decommissioning the Beatrice oil field, which is such likely to cost more than US$ 340 million.

Discover Solution 66: using carbon dioxide to make craft beer

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