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Planet Care

294: Recreational power plant

Problem:

Proximity to power plants isn’t typically a selling point for urban neighbourhoods,

Solution:

Recreational power plant


With Copenhagen’s commitment to being carbon-neutral by 2025, the team of architects and engineers at Bjarke Ingels Group has completed the “cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world” Their design for the 41,0000-square-metre plant won an international competition in 2011, with the building breaking ground two years later and the power station officially going online in March 2017

CopenHill, also known as Amager Resource Centre, replaces a 50-year old waste-to-energy plant with one that incinerates trash, then uses catalytic filtration to remove pollutants from the resulting smoke. It converts 440,000 tons of garbage annually enough to provide over 30,000 homes with electricity and 72,000 homes with heating in an area spread across five municipalities including Copenhagen.

But this is not all. CopenHill, “the epicentre for urban mountain sport, comprises an artificial ski slope that is open all year round. Operated in partnership with Snowminds Ski School, a glass elevator ferries skiers and snowboards to the top; and at 85 m the world’s tallest climbing wall, designed by walltopia; and a 490-metre-long hiking and running trail within a rooftop bar and a “lush” garden.

Once a month CopneHill hosts a new freestyle event Friday Night Freestyle. Everyone is welcome – skiers, snowboarders, rookies and pros! The event starts at 5pm where there will be a huge freestyle session on the slope. The Middelgrunden wind farm can be seen in the distance.

This “garden” is designed by collaborators SLA Architects, and is hoped to created a “vibrant green pocket” in the city for birds, bees and flowers, while absorbing heat, remove harmful air particles and minimise storm water runoff.

Due to its location on the industrial waterfront of CopenHill is also the ground level site for the site for extreme sports from wakeboarding to go-kart racing

It is hoped the building will help Copenhagen meet its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.

Discover Solution 295: Polypropylene-free tea bags

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Energy Planet Care Uncategorized

293: Passive Downdraught Evaporative Cooling (PDEC)

Problem:

Leaking CFC and HCFC-based air conditioners contribute to GHG and ozone depletion.

Solution:

Eastern architecture as an alternative to air conditioning. Chimney-like towers, (Persian: بادگیر‎ bâdgir: bâd “wind” + gir “catcher”) have been used for centuries to deliver passive cooling in arid desert regions.


Their function is to catch cooler breeze that prevail at a higher level above the ground and to direct it into the interior of the buildings. During archaeological investigations conducted by Masouda in the 1970s, the first historical evidence of windcatcher was found in the site of Tappeh Chackmaq near the city of Shahrood, Iran which dates back to 4000 BC.

A painting depicting such a device has been found at the Pharaonic house of Neb-Ammun, Egypt, which dates from the 19th Dynasty, c. 1300 BC (British Museum), while similar edifices can be found in Hyderabad, southern Pakistan.

Many traditional water reservoirs (ab anbars) are built with windcatchers that are capable of storing water at near freezing temperatures during summer months. The evaporative cooling effect is strongest in the driest climates, such as on the Iranian plateau, leading to the ubiquitous use of windcatchers in drier areas such as Kerman, Kashan, Sirjan, Nain, Bam and Yazd, the latter known as the “City of Windcatchers”.

The modernisation of windcatcher’s efficiency was proved in 1997 by Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri of Abhikram Architects designed the 1 million ft² (93,000m2) Torrent Research Centre for Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in Ahmedabad, India. It is a complex of windcatchers saved around 200 tonnes of air conditioning load.

The Kensington Oval cricket ground in Barbados (2007) and the Saint-Étienne Métropole’s Zénith (2008) with their aluminum windcatcher rooves both use this method. Since 2004, over 7000 X-Air windcatchers have been installed by Monodraught Ltd. of High Wycombe on public buildings across the UK.

Discover Solution 294: Recreational power plant

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Planet Care Materials

284: 99Recycle

Problem:

Every year, Russia generates 55-60 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) 99% of which is non-hazardous waste. In St Petersburg the sprawling mountains of rubbish located on the outskirts have become a testament to our 21st Century throw-away culture.

Solution:

Anton Rykachevskiy, Alexander Semenov, Olesya Kulik and a team at 99Recycle in St Petersburg exclusively source plastic from landfill sites to create its products. The brand works alongside various charities that support in their quest to collect plastic. Covers for Kindness is one of these.


The organisation gathers old plastic lids or covers, sorts them according to colour, and delivers them to 99Recycle. According to Maria Kutuzova, head of the project, they have collected over 70 tonnes of plastic so far.

Most of 99Recycle’s is taken up by the preparation, because they need to clean it, to make it even, to select it, to reject some materials.

The current roster includes a range of waist bags, tiles, plant pots, jewellery and pencil cases, through to skateboards and even a bike produced from recycled plastics via 3D printing.

Discover Solution 285: Offshore floating wind farm

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Planet Care Your Home

283: Microfilter clothes washing devices

Problem:

700,000 plastic microfibers come off synthetic garments when they go into a machine. By coming off, these fibers pass through the filters of the washing machines, which are not equipped to retain these microparticles. Since wastewater treatment plants do not have the capacity to filter them, they end up in sewage and, therefore, in the oceans. These fibers finally finish their course in the organism of marine animals.

Solution:

Microfilter clothes washing devices


In 2005, Brian Koski of Wexco Environmental Inc., Milaca, Minnesota developed the Filtrol 160 attachable filter which removes non-biodegradable materials and fibers, such as lint,hair, pet fur, sand, food and other debris, from a washing machine discharge. Filtrols are now in use problem in thousands of homes, businesses, and residential properties across the USA.

In 2008, keen surfers, Alexander Nolte and Oliver Spies co-founded of LANGBRETT GmbH specializing in environmentally friendly surf, skate and outdoor apparel with retail stores in Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.

Concerned with micro-particle pollution, they conceived of a plastic filter bag specially designed to retain these particles during a clothes wash. Nolte and Spies worked with German research institute Fraunhofer to test and vet the bag’s design and material.

They settled on polyamide, also known as nylon, that does not shed synthetic fibers easily. It is made with a 50-micron mesh, a width that allows soapy water to enter the bag without allowing fibers to leave. They trade named their patented innovation the Guppyfriend.

Guppyfriend attracted the attention of Patagonia, the American clothing company, Greener Grazing program at Australis Aquaculture when word about the project reached Phil Graves, managing director of Tin Shed Ventures, Patagonia’s investment fund. Patagonia already had a relationship with LANGBRETT, which sells Patagonia clothing.

They received early prototypes of the bag and tested them with the UCSB researchers they had worked with on their fiber loss study. They confirmed that the bag trapped anywhere from 90-95% of fibers. When the bag is removed from the washer at the end of a cycle, the fiber – visible against the white mesh – can be removed by hand and disposed of. Tests show that the bag remains functional and intact after hundreds of washings.

Since then, Nolte and Spies are also working on reducing microfiber losses before the fabric reaches the laundry room. They are working with Deutsche Textilforschungszentrum, a German standards body, to create a metric that will show the rate and amount of fiber losses of a given textile. They hope clothing designers will choose fabrics that aren’t prone to shedding. (en.guppyfriend.com)

In Ljubljana, Slovenia, a team led by Mojca Zupan and her engineer Hakim El Khiar have developed the PlanetCare washing machine filter. PlanetCare filters are available worldwide from an online shop. Every user receives a filter, replacement cartridges, a hose, a mount, and a small counter of wash cycles.

After the initial installation, the user will need to replace a full cartridge after approximately 20 wash cycles. After installing the last new cartridge, they return the used cartridges to PlanetCare for recycling (cartridges come in a returnable box with prepaid postage) who will send you a new set.

A commercial PlanetCare filter is designed for the service industry. Laundromats, hotels, hospitals, marinas: wherever washing machines operate 24 hours a day. This filter has been tested and approved by four renowned institutions: University of Slovenia, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), the Swedish Environmental Agency and a washing machine manufacturer.

As of January 1, 2025, based on a decree passed by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, all new washing machines must be fitted with microplastic filters, while manufacturers would obtain an environmental bonus if they transitioned before 2025.

What you can do: Use one of these filter to help reduce microfiber pollution.

Discover Solution 284: 99Recycle

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Planet Care Uncategorized

281: Sea grass

Problem:

Mitigation and adaptation to extreme weather conditions is particularly applicable to small islands.

Solution:

Similar to several Indo-Pacific islands, the Maldives is committed to building a strong business case to protect tropical coastal wetlands given their importance for fish production, coastal protection, water purification and carbon storage (i.e., Blue Carbon). One solution to this is the cultivation of sea grass (angiosperms).


Sea grass produces oxygen, stabilises sediment, protects shorelines, and gives food and shelter to marine life. A sea grass meadow creates a home for up to 20 times more fish. Up to 100,000 fish can live in just one hectare of sea grass. 2.5 ac (1 ha) of sea grass can be a home for up to 19 turtles.

In 2016 the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), along with luxury resort Six Senses Laamu joined together to demonstrate how sea grass and tourism can coexist and generate positive outcomes. As their work gained momentum, the collaboration launched the

“ProtectMaldivesSeagrass” campaign, asking resorts, as well as the public, to pledge their support for the protection and preservation of sea grass beds in Maldives.

Sea grass bed restoration is also taking place elsewhere.

As of 2019 the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre of Central Queensland University has been growing seagrass for six years and has been producing seagrass seeds. They have been running trials in germination and sowing techniques.

In a study of a species of seagrass called Posidonia oceanic, Anna Sanchez-Vidal, a marine biologist Department of Stratigraphy, Paleontology and Marine Geosciences at the University of Barcelona has discovered that plastic debris on the Mediterranean seafloor can be trapped in seagrass remains called “Neptune Balls”, eventually leaving the marine environment through beaching.

With no help from humans, the swaying plants – anchored to shallow seabeds – may collect nearly 900 million microplastic items in the Mediterranean alone every year, nearly 1,500 pieces per kilo of Neptune Balls or up to 600 bits per kilo of leaves.

Discover Solution 282: Hydrogen-powered steel

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Energy Planet Care

277: Nuclear fusion power station -Tokamak reactors

Problem:

The world’s 440 nuclear fission plants generate only 10% of the world’s electrity while presenting the lethal menace of dealing with waste by transporting it to deep earth burial sites.

Solution:

Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two lighter nuclei, typically isotopes of hydrogen, combine together under conditions of extreme pressure and temperature to form a heavier nucleus, releasing energy in the process. Fusion has been powering the sun and stars since their formation.


Unlike fission, fusion will have a low burden of radioactive waste. The energy released during fusion in the sun makes all life on earth possible. The simplest way to replicate the primordial source of power on earth is via the fusion of deuterium and tritium.

Deuterium is found aplenty in ocean water, enough to last for billions of years. Naturally occurring tritium is extremely rare, but it can be produced inside a reactor by neutron activation of lithium, found in brines, minerals and clays. Moreover, to run a 1,000 MW power plant with a fusion reactor, it is estimated that about 150kg of deuterium and three tonnes of lithium would be required per year, while the current fission reactors consume 25 to 30 tonnes of enriched uranium.

Fusion’s by-product is helium, which is an inert, non-toxic, non-radioactive gas used to inflate balloons. In addition, a fusion power plant would not require transporting hazardous radioactive materials.

The 35-nation International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) including states from theEuropean Union, the USA, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia began construction at Cadarache in France. It is the world’s largest fusion reactor, taking up equivalent to 60 football pitches.

Launched in 2006, ITER was beset with technical delays, labyrinthine decision-making and costs that have soared from an initial estimate of five billion euros to around 20 billion euros.

In the chaos of the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union, or Brexit, there is now at least one certainty: As the UK’s quest to produce clean energy from nuclear fusion by 2040, The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Oxfordshire, UK but supported by the European Union will keep operating until the end of 2020, thanks to a €100 million infusion of EU funds.

The deal, agreed in April 2019, will enable the Joint European Torus (JET) to embark on a daring fusion campaign with a rare, tricky fuel that will help pave the way for its successor: the giant ITER fusion reactor under construction in France.

The agreement comes as a relief to fusion researchers, who had feared JET would be shut down after Brexit. Now, they can go ahead with plans to gradually switch to a fuel mix of deuterium and tritium, both hydrogen isotopes. The latter is rare and hard to handle, but the change will provide the most ITER-like dress rehearsal before the main event in 2025. The same “D-T” reactions will ultimately power ITER and the commercial reactors that follow it.

Nuclear fusion is usually done in hollow, donut-shaped reactors called tokamaks, which are filled with rings of plasma as hot as the Sun. Soviet scientists coined the term as a shortening of the Russian for “toroidal magnetic confinement.”

The name is perfectly descriptive. A tokamak is a torus—the math term for a donut. But this takes tremendous effort to maintain the intense pressures and temperatures required for an “artificial star” here on Earth. Eruptions called edge-localized modes (ELMs) have been damaging the walls of reactors, making them less secure and requiring the replacement of parts far too regularly.

The problem was that the plasma used is inherently unstable, and large eruptions can damage the reactors containing it. Recently, physicists from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that creating a series of small ELMs could prevent larger, more damaging ones from occurring.

These smaller eruptions could be triggered by injecting granules of beryllium, measuring about 1.5 mm thick into the boiling plasma at regular intervals. Following computer simulations, the team ran physical experiments in the DIII-D, a tokamak reactor housed in the National Fusion Facility in San Diego prior to testing the technique out on other tokamaks, such as the Joint European Torus (JET).

The next breakthrough came when scientists developed a new superconducting material, essentially a steel tape coated with yttrium-barium-copper oxide (YBCO) enabling smaller and more powerful magnets. This in turn lowers the energy required to get the fusion reacton off the ground. With 18 nobium-in superconducting magnets (aka torroidal-field coils) installed, 150 million degrees celius was finally in sight

November 2019 saw the completion of the seven-storey Tokamak Building, after six million work hours, performed by approximately 850 workers since 2010. Some 105,000 tonnes of concrete, reinforced by approximately 20,000 tonnes of steel rebar, had gone into the building’s construction.

Transport of component parts was been a major undertaking. The PF6 (the second-smallest of the six coils that circle the vacuum vessel) weighing 396 tonnes and measuring 40 ft. (12 m.) long, 36 ft. (11 m.) wide and a little more than 13 ft. (4 m.) high, was made in China under an agreement signed between the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) and the procuring party, the European Domestic Agency.

Transported by ship, having arrived at Fosses-sur-Mer, the port of Marseilles, for this “highly exceptional load” (HEL) to reach the ITER site, approximately 2,220 cubic yards (1,700 cubic m.) of roadside rock and trees had to be removed. This is just one of approximately 100 large components for the magnet feeder system, adding up to 1,600 tonnes of equipment in all and measuring from 100 to 160 ft. (30 to 50 m.) in length.

Among other components to be delivered was the 18 m., or 60 ft. (18 m.), tall 1000-tonne “Central Solenoid,” the superconducting electromagnet that stands along the central axis of the tokamak, sometimes referred to as “the beating heart of ITER,” under manufacture by General Atomics in Poway, California, near San Diego.

This 1,000-metric-ton solenoid will have 5.5 gigajoules of stored energy to enable 100-million-degree-Celsius plasmas within carefully defined magnetic fields. In some locations, there will be only 10 mm of space—the width of a thick pencil—between the massive central solenoid and a 45 foot (13 m.) tall “D”-shaped toroidal field magnet.

Despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, the project began its five-year assembly phase in July 2020, launched by the French president, Emmanuel Macron alongside senior figures from ITER members, the EU, UK, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US. In February 2021, after enduring a battery of rigorous tests, the first of seven 45,000 amp superconducting magnet modules was given the green light. Built at General Dynamics of San Diego, it is now en route for ITER’s central solenoid.
Trials were due to begin in 2021 and if successful, regular power supply will be in 2025. (iter.org)

Meanwhile, by November 2019, following delivery of the coil system, the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) under the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) completed the construction of HL-2M, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) at a research centre in Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan province.
人造太阳 (Rénzào tàiyáng = artificial sun), expected to generate plasmas hotter than 200 million°C should also be operational in 2020. (cnnc.com.cn)

On November 24th 2020, The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, set the new world record as it succeeded in maintaining the high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees Celsius (retention time: about 1.5 seconds) the same temperature as the core of the Sun—its hottest part. In a continuing research program with the Seoul National University (SNU) and Columbia University of the United States, KSTAR aims to continuously operate high-temperature plasma over the 100-million-degree for 300 seconds by 2025.

Discover Solution 278: Orange juice bar – circular economy

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Planet Care

275: WasteShark

Solution:

A marine robot or aquadrone to eat waste and collect data.
Oliver Cunningham and Richard Hardiman co-founded RanMarine Technology in Rotterdam, the Netherlands to launch the The WasteShark, the world’s first marine robot designed specifically to capture plastics, microplastics, oils and other pollutants and collect data. Hardiman, from Cape Town, South Africa wanted to create a device that could help clean trash out of a harbour before it reached the ocean.

WasteShark floats through the sea just like the former with its mouth open, collecting garbage instead of fish As it navigates the water the electrically-propelled WasteShark emits no carbon, produces no noise or light pollution, and poses no threat to wildlife.

It can travel up to 5 km and collect up to 350kg of waste at a time.  WasteShark is also supported by a docking- and recharging station. One WasteShark can collect in excess of 15 tonnes of waste a year, with the plastic recycled to make products.

With 10 WasteSharks being tested around the world in India, the Netherlands, the U.S., and Cape Town, from December 2020, WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue launched a WasteShark in north Devon, England to clean up Ilfracombe harbour

Discover Solution 276: Microbial fungi and bacteria for CO2 capture

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Planet Care

274: Seabin

Problem:

Garbage is always to be found floating near ports and harbours, private marinas and yacht clubs.

Solution:

Seabin was invented and developed by two Australian ocean lovers, Andrew Turton, skipper, boat builder and surfer and Pete Ceglinski, surfer and industrial designer in injection-molded plastic products.

Witnesses of the damage caused by plastic pollution across the globe, they chose to devote their energy to find effective solutions and to carry out educational actions to change behaviors.

They developed a “trash skimmer” whereby rubbish and debris are brought into a bin thanks to a submersible water pump capable of displacing 6,600 gallons per hour (25,000 LPH (liters per hour), plugged directly into a 110/22v outlet. They are then collected in a catch bag which is removed and replaced.

The product was tested for four years and never had fish caught up in the bin. Although Ceglinski has taken out a patent, he was not the first. In 1992 Louis W. Pasoz obtained a patent for Apparatus and method for removal of floating debris.

The design and development of the Seabin project is based in Palma, Mallorca, Spain at the design center “The Sea” a factory space set up for creatives. The Sea has office and meetings space, an events gallery and a workshop area ideal for the Seabin project.

The Palma Mallorca location is important for the Seabin project, being the central hub of Europe’s marine industry and also having quick international access.

Following trials in France at La Grande Motte, Seabins built of recycled materials by Poralu Marine, were soon being trialled at various European ports. In 2017, the major shipbuilder, Wärtsilä signed up, as the first big industrial company, to partner with the Seabin Project and donated 35 Seabins to various locations globally.

By 2019 there were over 60 Seabins in Europe from the UK to Liguria, including the canals of Paris and Swiss Lake Lugano.

Three Seabins in Toronto, Canada are the first to be installed in a North American harbour. By 2019, following a video campaign which went viral, SeaBins are in use in 52 countries around the world which have collected more than half a million tonne of marine litter.

Before long, Seabins had arrived at Pete Ceglinski’s native country with the installation of two Seabins in the Port Macquarie Marina, New South Wales, Australia. The purchase of the first Seabin was made possible through a NSW EPA litter grant, the first one in Australia to be used for the purchase of Seabin clean technology.

Seabin is also supported with a seed investment by Australian marine technology development company Shark Mitigation Systems Pty. Ltd. (SMS). SMS has technology partnerships with Google and Australian telecommunications company Optus, and is on a pathway to IPO listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 275: WasteShark

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Planet Care

273: Robo bees

Problem:

The honey bee (Apis Mellifera), which pollinates nearly one-third of the food we eat, has been dying at unprecedented rates because of a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

The crisis is generally attributed to a mixture of disease, parasites, and pesticides. If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.

Solution:

In late June 2014, The White House gave a new task force just 180 days to devise a coping strategy to protect bees and other pollinators.


Inspired by the biology of a bee, researchers, led by engineering Professor Robert Wood at the Microrobotics Lab of the Wyss Institute, Harvard University, began developing Autonomous Flying Microbots aka RoboBees, man-made systems that could perform myriad roles in agriculture or disaster relief.

A RoboBee measures about half the size of a paper clip, weighs less than one-tenth of a gram, and flies using “artificial muscles” compromised of materials that contract when a voltage is applied. To construct RoboBees, researchers at the Wyss Institute have developed innovative manufacturing methods, so-called Pop-Up micro-electromechanical (MEMs) technologies that have already greatly expanded the boundaries of current robotics design and engineering.

A Robobee can lift off the ground and hover midair when tethered to a power supply. After two years of R&D, in 2016 the Wyss team announced that their Robobees can now perch on objects from any angle, using an electrode patch and a foam mount that absorbs shock to perch on surfaces and conserve energy in flight, like bats, birds or butterflies.

The new perching components weigh 13.4 mg, bringing the total weight of the robot to about 100mg, similar to the weight of a real bee. The robot takes off and flies normally. When the electrode patch is supplied with a charge, it can stick to almost any surface, from glass to wood to a leaf. To detach, the power supply is simply switched off.

But they still need to be able to fly on their own and communicate with each other to perform tasks such as a real honeybee hive is capable of doing. The researchers believe that as soon as 10 years from now these RoboBees could artificially pollinate a field of crops, a critical development if the commercial pollination industry cannot recover from severe yearly losses over the past decade.

RoboBees will work best when employed as swarms of thousands of individuals, coordinating their actions without relying on a single leader. The hive must be resilient enough so that the group can complete its objectives even if many bees fail.

The new generation four-wing hybrid RoboBee X-Wing can dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of water, and safely land. Although only one-quarter the weight of a paper clip, it still needs the extra lift provided by its two extra wings to carry its on-board electronics and six tiny solar cells.

Since the robot is untethered unlike other similar robotic insects, it gets its power from the sun — or from powerful lamps, which the researchers used during their tests. The solar cells generate 5 volts of electricity, and a small onboard transformer turns it into the 200 volts of electricity the RoboBee needs to lift off. That voltage causes the bee’s piezoelectric actuators to bend and contract such as the real insect’s muscles would, leading to the flapping motion of the robot’s wings. (wyss.harvard.edu)

Even though the X-Wing does not need a tether, it still cannot be deployed in real missions. For one, it requires light three times the intensity of our sun to be able to generate the power it needs. In addition, it does not work when it is not directly under the light and could only fly for a second or two during testing until it veers out of view. The researchers need to equip it with a power storage solution so it can fly in the dark. But that would make it heavier.

In 2017, Eijiro Miyako, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, developed a drone to deliver pollen between flowers. The bottom is covered in horsehair and coated in a special sticky gel. When the drone flies onto a flower, pollen grains stick lightly to the gel, and then rub off on the next flower visited. (aist.go.jp)

In March 2018, Walmart filed a patent for autonomous, pollination drones. In 2019, scientists at the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) Russia launched a robo-bee prototype at least seven times bigger than real bees, or the size of a human palm.

Another approach was taken by Anna Haldewang, a 24-year-old industrial design student at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, USA. Haldewang created 50 designs of a bee drone before landing on the final model, Plan Bee, which does not resemble a bee at all.

The drone consists of a foam core, a plastic-shell body and two propellers. There are also six sections of the drone that meet at the bottom, all of which have tiny holes that let the machine gather pollen while it hovers over plants. It can then release the pollen at a later time for cross-pollination.

Haldewang noted that Plan Bee is still in its early stages, but she has filed a patent for the technology and design. Its application in backyards as a teaching tool has potential, but the drone could conceivably be used in large-scale farming, even in hydroponic farming.

Discover Solution 274: SeaBin

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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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Energy Planet Care

270: Nature Urbaine

Problem:

Fruit and veg on average travel by refrigerated air and land transport between 2,400 and 4,800 kilometres from farm to market. The global transportation force is the largest of humanity’s carbon-emitting activities, and reducing the number of flights and truckloads of produce is a great place to start cutting the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere.

Solution:

In 2016, Pascal Hardy, an engineer in agro-development had the intuition that growing towers could be used to set large farms on the rooftops of cities and created Agripolis Organics in Paris.

He started with the roof of Hall 6 at the six-storey Paris Exhibition Centre in the in the 15th arrondissement of the capital, designing the largest urban rooftop farm in the world, covering 3.4 acres, about the size of two soccer pitches. aeroponic or vertical growing techniques would be used to create fruits and vegetables without the use of pesticides, refrigerated trucks, chemical fertilizer, or even soil.


By 2019, “Nature Urbaine” (French for Urban Nature) was supplying produce to local residents, including nearby hotels, catering halls, and more. For a price of 15 euro, residents can order a basket of produce online containing a large bouquet of mint or sage, a head of lettuce, various young sprouts, two bunches of radishes and one of chard, as well as a jar of jam or puree. Also available are 150 baskets of strawberries, as well as aubergines, tomatoes, and more.

Accompanying the urban farm will be a new rooftop restaurant run by area group “Le Perchoir”.

When the Nature Urbaine is finished, twenty gardeners will tend 30 different kinds of plants and harvest up to 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) of perhaps 35 different kinds of fruits and vegetables every day.

Pascal Hardy is now planning similar projects in the suburbs of Paris and abroad.

Discover Solution 271: OEOO (One Earth – One Ocean)

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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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Planet Care

266: SCoPEx

Problem:

Emergency measures may need to be taken to counteract anthropogenic global warming.

Solution:

The idea is simple: spray a bunch of particles into the stratosphere, and they will cool the planet by reflecting some of the Sun’s rays back into space.

This high-risk geo-engineering is inspired by historical events. An intense volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora (Indonesia) in 1815 released an incredible amount of volcanic ash, droplets of sulfuric acid, and water into the atmosphere, obscuring the Sun and creating a global cooling event. For exactly this reason, 1816 was known as the “year without summer”.

Equally, when Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it injected an estimated 22 million tons ( 20 million tonnes) of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere — the atmospheric layer that stretches from about 6 mi to 31 mi (10 to 50 km). above Earth’s surface. The eruption created a haze of sulfate particles that cooled the planet by around 0.5 °C. For about 18 months, Earth’s average temperature returned to what it was before the arrival of the steam engine.

In 2009, while at the University of Calgary in Canada, experimental physicist David Keith founded the company Carbon Engineering, in Squamish, which is working to commercialize technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

After joining Harvard University, Keith used research funding he had received from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, to begin planning the experiment. In 2011 he moved to Harvard Univesity where he teamed up with atmospheric chemist James Anderson, who had been investigating a variety of geo-engineering options off and on for more than 25 years.

They were joined by Frank Keutsch to prepare the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx). The experiment is backed by Bill Gates, the Hewlett Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as well as university grants and donations from other groups and individual contributors.

At the heart of SCoPEx is a scientific balloon, fitted with re-purposed off-the-shelf airboat propellers. The re-purposed propellers serve two functions. First, the propeller wake forms a well mixed volume (roughly half a mile long and 330 ft in diameter (1 km long and 100 m) that serves as an experimental ‘beaker’ to which are added particles of calcium carbonate powder which is expected to absorb less heat than volcanic sulfates and to have less impact on ozone.

Second, the propellers allow repositioning the gondola to different locations within the volume to measure the properties of the perturbed air. The payload can achieve walking speed relative to the surrounding air, generally for about ten minutes at a time. The advantage of the SCoPEx-propelled balloon is that it allows the team to create a small controlled volume of stratospheric air and observe its evolution for over 24 hours. (projects.iq.harvard.edu)

In February 2019, Raven Aerostar of South Dakota, specialized in stratospheric (high-altitude) balloons and airships was selected to make the prototype flying machine. The first phase involves two flights 12 mi. (20 km.) above the southwest United States, when small plumes of calcium carbonate, each of around 3.53 oz. (100 g.) will be released. The balloon will then turn around to observe how the particles disperse.

The technical aspects of this experiment are far less important than its political, social, and geopolitical implications. After all, the risks of geo-engineering could not be more serious. If deployed at scale, SRM (Solar radiation management) could disrupt the monsoons in Asia and cause droughts in Africa, affecting the food and water supplies of two billion people.

Discover Solution 267: Zinc Battery

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Planet Care

264: Synthetic palm oil

Problem:

Conflict palm oil, used in shampoos, soaps, detergents and lipsticks, to food products like packaged bread, biscuits, margarine, ice cream and chocolate, is also responsible for the rapid deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino.

Solution:

Synthetic palm oil


C16 Biosceiences Technology was started up in 2017 by David Heller, Andrew Shumaker and Shara Ticku of New York to advance their solution which uses microbiology to brew sustainable alternatives to palm oil which is nearly chemically and functionally identical to palm oil and no longer requires deforestation or inhumane labour practices.

Technically, they have developed microoganisms and methods for producing lipids by co-culturing a photosynthetic microorganism with a heterotrophic microorganism to produce a culture medium having a titer of lipids.

Earlier in 2020, C16 Biosciences received a $20m (£15m) investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund backed by Bill Gates and the likes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Virgin’s Richard Branson.

C16 Biosciences is not the only organisation looking to come up with a synthetic alternative. Researchers lead by Chris Chuck are working on something similar at the UK’s University of Bath, England

In Hayward, California, Lisa Dyson and John Reed at Kiverdi have developed and pateneded PALM+, a synthetic palm oil made from CO² fermentation, based on NASA research in the 1960s, Kiverdi says its process requires 1/10,000th the space to produce the same amount of oil. They have also applied their solution to produce MicroFeed, a protein-rich meal that can be fed to fish in aquaculture.

Indonesia’s Golden Agri-Resources, one of the world’s largest privately-owned palm oil plantation companies is focused on improving its yield per hectare with new variants of its natural oil palm trees such as the Dami Mas, cloned and genetically mapped, as well as their Eka 1 and Eka 2, planting materials created through cloning and tissue culture process at their SMART Biotechnology Centre in Sentul, Indonesia.

Discover Solution 265: Reverse fuel cell

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Planet Care

261: Wave Killer

Problem:

Hurricanes are on the rise – not only in the amount of storms but often in their severity too. More and more lives, coastal infrastructures and billions of dollars get washed away by massive ocean waves with the coming of each storm.

Solution:

Wave killer


Destino Miguel Rivera of Glen Cove, NY, a master diver with 30 years of underwater construction experience, has patented a geo-engineering solution, called Wave Killer (as opposed to Killer Wave), where an underwater air curtain turns the ocean above it into a gas.

The system would be anchored on the ocean floor, so the curtain’s bubbles 10, 20, even 50 feet wide can span for miles on end, go from the ocean floor to the surface. In the shallows, of 30 ft. or less, this means that ocean waves are deleted, oil is repelled, marine animals have a barrier that they cannot enter when the system is activated.

Used at deeper depths, the system has the ability to change ocean temperatures, by using bubbles to bring cold water from the ocean floor to the surface thus protecting coral.

The system also works as a sound barrier, because the ocean is no longer solid above it. Construction sounds and detonations are deleted as the system can be 10, 20 or more feet thick, protecting whole coastlines.

Rivera also believes with the right satellite buoy alert systems in place, that Wave Killer can potentially stop tsunami waves from reaching shore with very little advanced notice and that it’s also possible to elevate cool water from the ocean bottom to the warm surface, thus decreasing the surface temperature in hurricane ‘hot spots’ to slow climate change and decrease the strength of massive storms globally.

If Wave Killer could take a Category 5 and reduce it to a Category 1 storm just by making the ocean’s surface temperature cooler in geographic storm tracks, lives, coastlines and billions of dollars’ worth of damage could be saved in the process

Wave Killer comes in modular 20-foot sections with air being pumped into a system of environmentally safe tubes, which then gets delivered to strategically positioned air dispersal heads with tiny holes releasing intermingling bubbles.

The air gets supplied by centrifuge fans, compressors, or even the bypass of jet engines which can run on natural gas – depending on how many miles of coastline are being protected. It is also a sealed air system, so it always has air in it even when it is turned off..

Rivera has spoken with over 30 senatorial and congressional offices to alert them this technology now exists, as well as the Department of the Interior, the US Navy, NOAA and other agencies who can use this system to help save the environment from storms, oil spills and other disasters. He is now looking for funding for a prototype.

Discover Solution 262: MechanicalTree

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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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Human Effort Planet Care

254: Trillion Trees

Solution:

During the 1930s, when 32nd US President Franklyn D. Roosevelt enacted his New Deals, the most popular of all, and much loved by the President, was The Civilian Conservation Corps which enrolled 3.4 million young men who built 13,000 mi (21,000 km) of trails, planted two billion trees.

On January 21, 2020, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland launched a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world over the next decade – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.

The 1t.org project aims to unite governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals in a “mass-scale nature restoration”. A day ahead of its official launch, the initiative even received the support of US President Donald Trump.

The Forum acknowledged the work of existing reforestation schemes such as the Bonn Challenge, the Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration, and the work of many environmental NGOs like American Forests, or the Trillion Trees Initiative (led by Birdlife International, WCS and WWF UK). 1t.org is an opportunity to help join-up these initiatives in a unifying platform.

1t.org is financed by Marc and Lynne Benioff, CEOs of cloud-based software company Salesforce which is contributing in the form of WEF’s UpLink, a new digital platform built to bring 300 stakeholders of all sizes, to solve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which include taking on climate change.

Second, in support of the 1t.org mission, Salesforce has set a goal to support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade. 1t.org will encourage and enable millions more grassroots reforestation champions by providing a digital platform to connect them with the opportunities, tools and resources they need to thrive.

In its report “Our Future in the Land”, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, set up by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has proposed a voluntary scheme that would involve people aged 18 to 25 taking up agricultural work in rural communities, including the planting of trees.

This National Nature Service could be targeted at young people from disadvantaged communities, as well as retirees who have “time and resources to do the work”. In June 2020, Wildlife and Countryside Link – a coalition of UK-wide organisations a coalition of e-NGOs petitioned the UK Government to invest in a NNS.

In the original study to target 1 trillion trees, Thomas Crowther and a team at ETH Zürich found that before the Agricultural Revolution, there were almost 6 trillion trees on the planet. Today, the Crowther Lab estimates there are about 3 trillion covering about 2.7 billion ha (around 10.4 million mi²)] of land. They made a map that essentially evaluates where trees would naturally exist and with that, it can be observed that there is room for vastly more trees than there currently are.

While it is impossible to plant in agricultural or urban areas, once those are eliminated, about 0.9 billion ha (about 3.5 million mi²) remain, or about a third of the area those 3 trillion trees currently occupy. Such an initiative should also accompany the protection of existing sequestration areas such as the Amazon Rain Forest.

What you can do: Join a tree-planting team such as the National Nature Service.

Discover Solution 255: Eco-friendly mattress

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Planet Care

253: Smog-dissipating gun for Delhi pollution

Problem:

Home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital city for the second straight year in 2019, according to IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally. India was also said in the study which focused on the amount of PM2.

Solution:

Anti-smog gun


Alongside the solutions of cleaning up the most polluting factories and transitioning to electric vehicles, the anti-smog gun was first tested in New Delhi in 2017. It was designed to create a ultra-fine fog consisting of very fine water droplets( 10 Micron size) These tiny water droplets were spread in larger areas with the help of a high speed fan and absorb even the smallest dust particles in the air, yet fall to the ground without wetness.

The solution was first patented in 1971 by Jo F. Mercer of Gonzales, Texas USA as “a method and apparatus for removing smog and smoke” US3572264A

Connected to a water tank and mounted on a vehicle, the 360° Indian version can be taken across the city to spay water to settle dust and other suspended articles such as PM 2.5.

Built by Cloud Tech in Haryana, India, a range of 5 skid/tower/trolley/trucks are available – whilethe 3kW model has a range of 20 metres,the 50kW can project its spray to 100 metres.

During the 2020 peak of pollution, smog-guns were installed at 14 large project sites in Delhi

Discover Solution 254: Trillion Trees

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Planet Care

251: “Proton”, single-cell protein from CO2

Problem:

Currently we struggle to feed our current global population and unless we drastically change the way we produce our food, this problem will only get worse. Most animal feed protein sources are imported from overseas, making the UK dependent on complicated and fragile supply chains. This is a particular problem with protein.

Solution:

In July 2018, Peter Rowe and Robert Mansfield, based in Nottingham, England, founded Deep Branch Biotechnology to develop their solution of using of microbes to convert CO2 directly from industrial emissions into high-value products, specifically a totally novel, new type of high value single-cell protein animal feed, or SCP, called Proton.

Deep Branch’s logo is “Transforming the polluters of today into the producers of Tomorrow.”


The first sustainable protein product coming out of the company is Autotrofish, nutritionally tailored for aquaculture, making it a sustainable alternative to fishmeal. It is made from single cell protein generated from captured emissions.

The company is also working on developing single cell protein for monogastrics—that is, animals with single-chambered stomachs, like humans, rats, dogs and pigs, cats, horses and rabbits—and ruminants, which have multi-chambered stomachs, such as cattle, antelopes, sheep and goats.

In July 2020, with financial support from the government in the form of £3 million funding from Innovate UK, Deep Branch set up REACT-FIRST to contribute to meeting the UK’s Net Zero climate change commitment as well as to the circular economy. It involves ten industry and academic partners, which all share a commitment to tackling the global climate crisis and the goal of achieving neutral/negative carbon emissions.

The members of the REACT-FIRST consortium are: Drax – the UK’s largest single site renewable electricity generator and pioneer of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS); BioMar – one of the world’s largest aquafeed producers; AB Agri – a global agri-food business and leading producer of monogastric feed; Sainsbury’s – recognised as world’s best sustainable seafood retailer in 2017; Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) – a network of 100+ key stakeholders from the aquaculture industry; Synthetic Biology Research Centre, University of Nottingham (SBRC Nottingham) – the world-leading gas fermentation research group; The Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling – the UK’s leading aquaculture research centre; Nottingham Trent University, School of Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences – experts in assessing sustainable poultry production; and Innogen, University of Edinburgh – experts in value chain integration and responsible innovation.

Discover Solution 252: recyclable pantyhose

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Planet Care Human Effort

244: Ocean Clean-up machine

Problem:

An estimated 8.8 million tons ( 8 million tonnes) of plastic waste finds its way into our oceans every year, and that burden is expected to grow. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is located between California and Hawaii is the area where plastic rubbish accumulates because of ocean currents, known as gyres which act such as a vortex pulling waste into a central channel. It is around three times the size of Spain.

Solution:

A floating barrier that collects marine debris as the system is pushed by wind, waves and current, and slowed down by a sea anchor.


The Ocean Cleanup was founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, of Croatian origin, living in the Netherlands. In 2011, at age 16, Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project to deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up.

He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012. He founded the non-profit Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and shortly after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on several news sites.

After foundation, The Ocean Cleanup managed to raise US$2.2 million through a crowdfunding campaign with the help of 38,000 donors from 160 countries. In June 2014, the Ocean Cleanup published a 528-page feasibility study.

As a planet-protecting solution, the prototype consisted of 2000 ft (600 m.) long, U-shaped floating cylinder with a 9ft (2.74 m) skirt beneath which moves along with the current capturing plastic as it goes.

It is attached to a central platform shaped like a manta ray for stability. The barriers would direct the floating plastic to the central platform, which would remove the plastic from the water.

The refuse is then picked up by boat every few months and taken to land for processing and recycling. In 2014, the design was revised, replacing the central platform with a tower detached from the floating barriers. This platform would collect the plastic using a conveyor belt.

On June 22, 2016, The Ocean Cleanup deployed a 330 ft (100 m.)-long barrier segment in the North Sea, 14.2 mi. (23 km) off the coast of The Netherlands. It was the first time the design was put to the test in open waters and the tests conducted gave valuable insights to the engineering team.

Making modifications on a small scale structure 10 mi. offshore is relatively easy. In contrast, making corrections on a large scale structure 1,609 km (1,000 mi.) offshore would be an entirely different challenge, at a different cost.

The test indicated that conventional oil containment booms could not endure the harsh environments the system would face. They changed the floater material to a hard-walled HDPE pipe, which is flexible enough to follow the waves, and rigid enough to maintain its open U-shape. More prototypes were deployed to test component endurance.

On September 9, 2018, System 001 (nicknamed Wilson in reference to the floating soccer ball in the 2000 film Cast Away) deployed from San Francisco. The ship Maersk Launcher towed the system to a position 286 mi (440 km) off the coast, where it was put through a series of sea trials. When the tests were complete, it was towed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for real-world duty.

Research by the foundation found that, at its peak, the patch contains around 330lbs (150 kg.) of plastic per square mile, reducing to 33lbs (15 kg.) at the outer edges. Wilson arrived on October 16, 2018, and was deployed in operational configuration. System 001 encountered difficulties retaining the plastic collected. The system collected debris, but soon lost it because the barrier traveled too slowly.

In November, the project attempted to widen the mouth of the U by 195-230 ft. (60-70m.) but failed. A 60-foot chunk of the Ocean Cleanup device, deployed with much fanfare in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in October, has broken off and the entire plastic collection system will now be towed back to port for an overhaul and upgrade. The break was discovered on Dec. 29 during a routine inspection by the cleanup system’s crew. A 60-foot (18 m.) end section of the 2,000-foot (600 m.) boom that corrals the plastic had detached

Shortly thereafter, the rig began its journey to Hawaii for inspection and repair. During the two months of operation, the system had captured some 4,400 lb. (2,000 kg.) of plastic. In mid-January 2019, Wilson completed its 800 mi (1,290 km.) journey and arrived in Hilo Bay, Hawaii. Ocean Cleanup anticipates the repaired system being back in action by summer.

In July 2019, the improved System 001B its size reduced by a factor of 3, returned towards the GPGP Vortex. A string of huge inflatable buoys had been attached across the system’s opening to add to the windage of the system and pull it through the water faster. If that failed, the team would hoist a huge parachute to the opening.

Measuring 65 ft (20 m.) across, to serve as an anchor of sorts, slowing the system down so that it travels at around the same speed as the water. It has also reduced the size of the barrier by a factor of three and taken a more modular approach to its construction, allowing the team to deploy the system faster and make certain alterations without towing it back to shore.

In October, Boyan Slat tweeted that System 001B had successfully captured and retained debris.

Alongside a picture of the collected rubbish, which includes a car wheel, Slat wrote: “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?” The plastic gathered was brought to shore in December for recycling.

The project believes there may be a premium market for items that have been made using plastic reclaimed from the ocean. “I think in a few years’ time when we have the full-scale fleet out there, it should be possible to cover the operational cost of the cleanup operation using the plastic harvested,” Slat said.

In February 2020, the Globus Family of Brands, which includes Globus, Cosmos, Monograms, and Avalon, launched a new promotion in hopes of supporting The Ocean Cleanup. Globus is making a donation to The Ocean Cleanup every time a client opts for e-docs, rather than paper documents, when booking a trip.

For inshore cleaning, The Ocean Cleanup presented its latest invention in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a solar-electric trash-collecting barge called The Interceptor. The Interceptor aims to collect low-hanging fruit, plastic trash, as it voyages down the world’s most polluted rivers before reaching the sea.

When the vessel is anchored to the riverbed, a floating arm extends into the river’s current to catch plastic and direct it into the Interceptor’s open maw, where it is hauled from the water and put into dumpsters, which can be removed for recycling.

Four Interceptors have already been built, and two are operational, one on the Klang River that flows through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and one on the Cengkareng Drain, which flows through Jakarta, Indonesia. The other two are destined for Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.

Outfitted with li-ion batteries and an array of solar panels, Interceptors can operate day or night, without producing noise or pollution. The organization estimates that a single Interceptor could remove as much as 110,000 lb (50,000 kg) of plastic trash a day from a polluted river, and claims that because the arm will not completely span the river, it will not impede boat traffic or local wildlife. The idea is to implement the Interceptor as a scalable solution that can be mass-produced to meet needs around the world.

By placing Interceptors in 1,000 strategic locations in rivers around the world, the Ocean Cleanup could halt 80% of plastic from entering the oceans in five years’ time.

On October 25th 2020 Ocean Cleanup launched its first “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” product, The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses made from the recycled plastic, designed in California by Yves Behar, made in Italy by Safilo. Recycled plastic was also used for the sunglasses’ case is made from the HDPE floater of System 001 (aka Wilson), and the carrying pouch is made from recycled PET bottles.

With a similar approach, Marcella Hansch, an architectural student of Aachen, Germany, has invented “Pacific Garbage Screening”, a floating platform with a distinctive design that makes it possible to filter plastic particles out of the water from both oceans and rivers.

The platform is an anchored object, so it has no drive and needs no fuel, and works like an inverted sedimentation basin. Its architectural form calms down the ocean currents and then because of the calming and the low density of plastics, the plastic particles float to the surface. There is no need for filter systems such as nets. This means fish and other ocean life will not be harmed.

For this design, Hansch not only received the “25 Women Award – Women, whose inventions change our lives” from the magazine Edition F but also the German Federal Ecodesign Award in the category Young Talent.

The Pacific Garbage Screening ngo has funding from both Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Oris and German sanitary fittings manufacturer Grohe so that together with an interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, engineers and marine biologists, the trained architect is working on the creation of the platform to be implemented within the next five years. (theoceancleanup.com)

In the closed sea which is the Mediterranan, swelling with 600,000 tons of plastic every year. Co-founded by Pierre-Ange Giudicelli, the Mare Vivu association based at Pinu on the island of Corsica has organized the CorSeaCare 2.0 mission to inform the public about the harmful effects of single-use plastic and to clean up the coastline using a low-tech system that allows used plastic to be recycled. This includes members going out along the beaches or in their boats, catamarans and kayaks, and picking up plastic waste.

What you can do: Use this link to »» buy Ocean Cleanup sunglasses.

Discover Solution 245: Sustainable tooth cleaners

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Planet Care

243: SilverLining

Problem:

Global warming is accelerating towards the point of no return.

Solution:

Injecting sunlight-reflecting aerosols, how to shoot the right size particles into clouds to make them brighter, and the effect on the world’s food supply.


On Wednesday October 28th 2020, a nonprofit organization called SilverLining, founded by technologist and entrepreneur Kelly Wanser, announced $3 million in research grants to Cornell University, the University of Washington, Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and others.

Prior to founding SilverLining, Kelly Wanser co-founded – and currently serves as Senior Advisor to – the University of Washington Marine Cloud Brightening Project, an effort to research and understand one possible form of climate intervention: the cooling effects of particles on clouds.

One challenge is to build spray nozzles between 30 and 100 nanometers that consistently produce the right size particles, and finding ways to prevent them from sticking together. A research that may take from 12 to 18 months.

Wanser previously served as a strategic advisor to national environmental and energy groups, assisting with ocean policy for Ocean Conservancy and developing industry strategy for fusion energy for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She previously founded companies in the IT infrastructure, analytics, and security fields, and has authored more than 20 patents.

The grant from SilverLining will pay for the center to run and analyze hundreds of simulations of aerosol injection, testing the effects on weather extremes around the world. One goal of the research is to look for a sweet spot — the amount of artificial cooling that can reduce extreme weather events, without causing broader changes in regional precipitation patterns or similar impacts.

Discover Solution 244: Ocean Clean-up machine

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Planet Care

241: Marine Permaculture Arrays

Problem:

As in much of the world, a lot of kelp and seaweed growing off the coast of Tasmania has died due to the rising sea temperatures. The University of Tasmania reports that roughly 95% of the kelp forests around Tasmania have been lost over the past few years. This has led to the Australian Government listing them as an endangered marine community, the first of its kind in Australia.

Solution:

In 2008, working with two preeminent plankton experts, to manually restore overturning circulation in areas where it has stopped, Brian von Herzen demonstrated the use of wave-driven pumps to up-well rich nutrients and grow plankton in a portion of the Pacific Ocean 60 mi (100 km) north of Hawaii.

In just 57 hours after deployment, the system sparked plankton growth. Shortly thereafter, these blooms attracted various species of fish. Two weeks later, a 17-ft (5 m.) whale shark was still circling the area feeding on plankton that had started to bloom.

Herzen, who has set up The Climate Foundation, calls his floating platform system a Marine Permaculture Array (MPA) with its ability to create ocean forests of kelp and seaweed and to provide habitat for diverse fauna including invertebrates, forage and game fish and birds.

Climate Foundation was chosen out of a field of 220 organizations by Australia’s Dept of Foreign Affairs and the Blue Economy Challenge to deploy a Marine Permaculture Array in the Indian Ocean to validate the technical benefits. In this phase, they demonstrated the biological response of commercially relevant macroalgae to deep water upwelled to the surface.

By October 2019, the first of CF’s lab-bred giant kelp had been outplanted into the field, onto experimental arrays and aquaculture infrastructure in Storm Bay, Tasmania. The outplanting of these twines, seeded with microscopic juvenile giant kelp, was the first step in Herzen’s research looking at cultivation of warm-tolerant giant kelp and restorative kelp aquaculture.

This could then be scaled up to self-guided 250-ac (100 ha) Marine Permaculture Arrays offshore. The kelp could be harvested to be used as biofuel, fertilizer, livestock feed, superfood and countless biomass applications and high-value extract. After high-value extraction at sea in the harvester bio-refinery, the kelp could be sunk to deep anoxic environments, locking 90% of the sequestered carbon away for millennia.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 242: Roadside wind turbine

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Planet Care

240: Plogging

Problem:

Could jogging be more than just a way of keeping fit?

Solution:
In 2016, after moving to Stockholm from a small ski-community in northern Sweden, Erik Ahlström became frustrated with the amount of litter he saw while riding his bike to work every day. The same debris could remain in the road for several weeks without anyone picking it up, so Erik started picking it up.

It felt good in his heart to clean up even a small place. Searching for a word to describe what he was doing, Erik combined the Swedish word: plocka upp (pick up) with jogging and came up with “plogging”. Before long other people were joining Ahlström, and plogging runs, with groups of couple coming together to run and pick up trash, became official events across Sweden.

The official on-line Plogga movement, the Swedish eco-fitness craze was born with 1 million hits on social media with international plogging groups starting up in at least 50 countries and hundreds of locations worldwide. This included a catchphrase Pick’n Jog – Be a hero”

While most of the initial growth was in Europe, plogging groups can now be found as far away as Ecuador and Thailand, a global reach that has far exceeded the initial expectations of the movement’s founder. In Sweden alone there are 200 events to date. One idea has suggested making “plogging” an Olympic Sport.
In the early 2000s most Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation buses had a poster on the back with a portrait of Narendra Modi (who was then the chief minister of Gujarat) and slogan “Clean Gujarat”, while inside each bus was a notice that said “Throw Rubbish Outside”. Since Modi became Prime Minister of India, many public places in India (railway stations for example) have become much tidier and cleaner.

In October 2019 Prime Minister Modi, in Mamallapuram, for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, released a three-minute video on Twitter in which he was seen plogging and urged the people to follow suit.

In February 2018, Marie Couderc and Nil Hoppenot, in their thirties left Portugal in February 2018 and arrived in Istanbul in March 2020. They walked 10,000 km, crossed 19 countries in southern Europe, still using small paths. In their backpacks which weighed on average 20kg, Marie and Nil always had a place for the environment. They collected up to 1kg of waste found along the way that they selectively disposed of when they could. It was the effort they wanted to make for the planet. They wanted to show that everyone on their big or small hikes can do the same.

Others prefer to walk instead of jogging.
In November 2018, French youtubers Mcfly and Carlito organized and filmed CleanWalk, picking up plastic while going for walks in the streets of Paris. Viewed almost 3 million times, it had a knock-on effect. In March 2019, Elsa Tran a second year student at the Doctrine high school in Strasbourg, organised a GreenWalk around her French city. On December 15, 2020 a hundred “orange vests” responded and a dozen Belgian personalities participated in the first Greenwalk in Belgium. Armed with litter picker tongs and trash bags provided by Bruxelles-Propreté, the 150 participants traveled 1.7 km and collected 550 kilos of waste.

What you can do: Organise a plogging event or Greenwalk near you.

Discover Solution 241: Marine Permaculture Arrays

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Planet Care Your Home

236: Marine glass

Problem:

What to do with emptied edible sea shells

Solution:

Marine glass


Atelier Viaud in Rennes, Brittany, France specializes in the formulation of Ostraco marine glass from natural resources and co-products in the regions. From the object to the work, from a palette of glasses growing over the years and crafted by craftsmen, the Viaud’s Atelier offers collections for the home through its ® brand, exceptional pieces on -measurement for professionals, and occasionally produces pieces in collaboration with other artists.

A graduate of the Boulle school, Lucile Viaud wanted to work on the issue of valuing marine resources, and in particular waste, fish bones or skins, oyster or abalone shells, shells, to create a material and then imagine objects.

It was at the Idmer technological innovation center in Lorient that Lucile Viaud carried out her first research. This is where her first marine glaz (old Breton for Glass). She began with microalgae and oyster shells, then later progressed to abalone shells. Production of the elegant blue-green bowls is then carried out by Stéphane Rivoal in his workshop in Arcueil, in the Paris region,

The particularity of its glass lies in its infinitely recyclable state.

Discover Solution 237: seamless sewing

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Planet Care

235: Poetry

Problem:

Sometimes prose is not enough to wake us up.

Solution:

Poetry


When in the early 1800s the English poet William Blake saw the pollution caused by the nearby Albion coal-fired stream-powered flour mill, he included these verses in one of his poems.

And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

Many others have followed him

In his15-stanza poem “Song of the Open Road, first published in 1856, American poet Walt Whitman, famous for his work “Leaves of Grass” writes

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

Tom Paxton an American folk singer-songwriter wrote “Whose Garden Was This?” for the first Earth Day in 1970. It was originally recorded on the album “6”, and was later covered by John Denver and was the first in a long line of songs that Denver recorded about the environment.

In 2018, Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States wrote and declaimed “Earthrise” for The Climate Reality Project about the climate emergency and the action we must take to end it.

She also read out “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Jo Biden in January 2021. (Video at the top of this post)

What you can do: Write and communicate poetry about solutions for our Planet.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 236: glass from oyster shells

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Planet Care

231: Sanctuary for former circus elephants

Problem:

More than 20 European countries already limit or ban circus animals, as do about 400 towns and cities in France. Of the 500 wild animals in circuses at present, more than 100 are elephants. Relocating them back to their country of origin  and rewilding them is not always possible.

Solution:

Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary (EHEES)


In 2012, Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur, both of whom worked for many years as animal keepers at the Antwerp Zoo (Tony took care of elephants for 14 years) have created a non-profit sanctuary for ex-Circus elephants.

This solution came after their successful lobbying of the Danish Parliament, which recently announced its commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Over 50,000 animal lovers in Denmark called for the government to end the cruelty inflicted on circus elephants.

Elephant Haven is located  in Bussière-Galant, a beautiful, 70-acre location in southern France. It plans to open its first barn in November 2020.

Discover Solution 232: an elevator powered by wastewater

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Carbon Capture Planet Care

229: Methane-reducing cow vaccine

Problem:

A hefty slice of global GHG emissions come from the smelly bodily functions of livestock. Globally, livestock are responsible for burping (and a small amount from farting) the methane equivalent of 3.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, up to 14% of all greenhouse emissions from human activities.

Solution:

Methane-reducing cow vaccine


Sinead C. Leahy, a microbiologist leading a team at AgResearch Ltd, one of New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institutes, have developed a vaccine against certain gut microbes that are responsible for producing methane as the animals digest their food, in an effort to allow us to continue eating meat and dairy products while lessening the impact the livestock industry has on the environment.

The methane produced by ruminants comes from some 3% of the vast number of microbes that live in the rumen, the first section of the gut. The guilty organisms belong to an ancient group called the archaea, and they are capable of living in environments where there is no oxygen.

To weed out the bacteria responsible, however, Leahy and her colleagues had to find a way of reproducing the oxygen-free conditions of the rumen in their laboratory. Using DNA technology, they were then able to sequence the genomes of some of the key species.

Given by injection, the vaccine is designed to stimulate the animals’ output of anti-archaea antibodies in their saliva, which is then carried into the rumen as the animals swallow. AgResearch scientists have identified five different animal-safe compounds that can reduce methane emissions from sheep and cattle by 30% to 90%.

In the Netherlands, Stephane Duval and a team at DSM, have developed a compound called enzyme inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (NOP) which  reduces livestock methane emissions by more than one-third. The compound has an effect similar to other compounds being worked on by AgResearch, and the universities of Otago and Auckland. (dsm.com)

Another option is to give cattle probiotics, or helpful bacteria, to aid their digestion. Elizabeth Latham, a former researcher at Texas A&M University and co-founder of Bezoar Laboratories, has been developing a probiotic to tackle methane from cattle and claims it can reduce emissions by 50%. (bezoarlaboratories.com)

After a three-year experiment with a group of 50 cows, Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi and a team at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in southern Israel have successfully manipulated cows’ microbiome so preventing them from emitting methane. The microbiome is an underexplored area scientifically, yet it exerts great control over many aspects of animal and human physical systems. Microbes begin to be introduced at birth and produce a unique microbiome which then evolves over time.

Mizrahi has also investigated the microbiome of fish and other species to prepare us for a world shaped by climate change. Engineering healthier fish is especially important as the oceans empty of fish and aquaculture becomes the major source of seafood.

Discover Solution 230: Towards an more e-efficient light bulb: Power over Ethernet

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Planet Care

228: Wildlife Conservation corridors

Problem:

Animals once roamed the whole world, as a unique, limitless reserve ruled only by nature. Yet, these wide areas have been interrupted by urbanisation or intensive agriculture and fatal human-animal conflict in the form of vehicle-animal collisions

Solution:

Wildlife corridors


In order to fix human-related damages, wildlife corridors have been created all over the world, i.e. the restoration of interconnected habitats which allow fauna relocation and vegetable species to find resources, such as food and water and genetic exchange. There are two types of corridor:  natural and man-made

The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) is a region that consists of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and some southern states of Mexico. The area acts as a natural land bridge from South America to North America, which is important for species who use the bridge in migration.

Due to the extensive unique habitat types, Mesoamerica contains somewhere between 7 and 10% of the world’s known species. The corridor was originally proposed in the 1990s to facilitate animal movements along the Americas without interfering with human development and land use, while promoting ecological sustainability. The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is made of four parts: Core Zones, Buffer Zones, Corridor Zones, and Multiple-Use Zones, each with varying availability for human use.

The man-assisted solution, known as écoducs or écoponts was first developed in France in the 1950s. It took off in the Netherlands, where more than 600 crossings have been constructed to protect badgers, elk and other mammals.

Among the many man-assisted wildlife passages and corridors to be found today is a network in Banff National Park, Canada. Starting with the first two wildlife overpasses, there is not a total of 44 wildlife crossing structures — six overpasses and 38 underpasses — along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park and another 10 wildlife underpasses along highways in Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

They are used by deer, moose, and bears. To date, conservationists have documented more than 152,000 animals crossing the highway using either the bridges or the underpasses. They have also reduced the number of wildlife vehicle collisions by about 80 per cent.

The biggest wildlife corridor in the world is currently being designed, and it will stretch over US Highway 101 to northwest Los Angeles and connect parts of the Santa Monica Mountain chain.

The corridor will make it easier for mountain lions and other animals to roam freely through different parts of the mountains without the dangers of human interference. Designers of the corridor chose to create a bridge surrounded by brush and trees, which extends 165 feet over a 10-lane freeway.

It is supposed to blend seamlessly with the mountains, so the animals don’t realize they’re on a bridge at all.  The project, which is in its final phase of design, costs $87 million and was slated to open in 2023.

Discover Solution 229: Methane-reducing cow vaccine

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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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Planet Care

222: Terra Carta

Problem:

Big business must invest in the health of the planet and people. What good is all the extra wealth in the world, gained from ‘business as usual,’ if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions?

Solution:

Terra Carta, (= Earth Charter), a pledge to put planet first and raise $10bn (£7bn) to ‘bring prosperity into harmony with nature.’

On Monday 11th January, 2020, at the One Planet summit in Paris, with the participation of around thirty personalities, most of them in videoconferencing, Charles the Prince of Wales, a lifelong environmentalist and heir to the British throne, launched Terra Carta, a document that asked signatories of several international institutions to agree to almost 100 actions to become more sustainable by 2030.

In the Terra Carta’s statement of intent, the voluntary commitments include supporting international agreements on the climate, biodiversity and desertification, regenerative farming and biofuels, and similar efforts to protect half of the planet by 2050, and make investment and financial flows consistent with a future of low greenhouse gas emissions.

While some signatories are big investors or financiers for the fossil fuel industry and sectors linked to biodiversity loss, a $10 billion investment in nature will be made by 2022 through the newly created Natural Capital Investment Alliance. Companies supporting the launch of the Terra Carta included BlackRock, Bank of America and HSBC, BP. AstraZeneca (AZN), EY, Unilever (UL), Heathrow Airport, and Fidelity International.

The Prince stated “If we consider the legacy of our generation, more than 800 years ago, Magna Carta inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. As we strive to imagine the next 800 years of human progress, the fundamental rights and value of nature must represent a step-change in our ‘future of industry’ and ‘future of economy’ approach.”

Later on Monday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, announced that an envelope of 14.3 billion dollars (11.8 billion euros) over five years (2021-2025) had been constituted for an 8,000 km “great green wall” intended to prevent the advance of desert in the Sudano-Sahelian zone, which crosses 11 countries in Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.

The countries concerned in the foreground by the project are: Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

The first One Planet Summit was aimed at leading, at the end of the year, to the adoption of a new roadmap for the protection of ecosystems at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in early October in Kunming, China.

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