Categories
Planet Care Carbon Capture Mobility

268: Tree-planting drones

Problem:

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

Solution:

Tree-planting drones


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Mobility Planet Care

259: Zero emission racing yacht

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From prototypes, zero emission yachts should become the norm.

Discover Solution 260: Saltwater lamp

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
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.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 223: exquisite leather without animals

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

221: Petráková’s 8th Continent

Problem:

The live-giving ocean is suffering, and we need to help restore its balance for our planet’s survival. We can not achieve it only by technology, but we need an interdisciplinary platform to educate people and change their relationship with the marine environment for the generations to come.

Solution: “The 8th Continent”

Lenka Petráková, a Slovakian-born Senior Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects has come up with a design for a huge floating station that collects plastic debris from the water’s surface and breaks it down into recyclable material. She calls it The 8th Continent.


The structure is designed for the Pacific Ocean and it is composed of five main parts: the barrier, the collector, the research and education centre, greenhouses, and living quarters with support facilities.

The barrier serves to collect waste and harvest tidal energy. The waste is then sorted, biodegraded and stored in the collector. As well as cleaning up the water, Petráková also imagines the floating station as an interdisciplinary platform.

The research and education centre is, therefore, a place to study and demonstrate the increasingly worrying conditions of marine environments.

Each of the five parts is adapted to suit its function. The barrier floats on the water’s surface and moves waste towards the collector. the collection technology at the centre of the building is designed to optimize waste handling. the research and education centre is linked to the collector and greenhouses to follow the water processes and study them.

Greenhouses are shaped to optimize condensed water collection and resemble large sails to allow wind to navigate the station. The living quarters, public spaces and support facilities pass through the building’s centre and connect all parts, geometrically matching the ship’s keel.

Natural forces affect the station’s movement and position as well as the inside environment. The floating station is self-sufficient so the station’s elements must cooperate and optimize the power source.

The barrier also collects tidal energy, which powers the turbine to collect the waste. Solar panels cover greenhouses and ensure there is enough power for the water reservoirs’ heating, allowing the evaporation of water and its desalination.

After the wastewater extraction, the filtered clean water is pumped into the water tank and either desalinated or used for halophilic plants’ hydrophobic cultivation.

The 8th Continent was awarded the 2020 grand prix award for architecture and innovation of the sea following a competition launched by the Foundation Jacques Rougerie Génération Espace Mer – Institut de France

It has still to be built.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 222: The Earth Charter

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

220: Nanosprings to break down microplastics

Problem:

Up to 14 million tons of plastic enters the ocean annually, 40 percent of which is considered “single-use”, which means it goes into the water within the same year that it was produced. Most plastics never fully break down; they just fragment into smaller pieces called microplastics (5 millimetres across or smaller).

Microplastics have been found in every corner of the globe, from the deepest part of the Mariana Trench to the top of the French Pyrenees.

Solution:

Nanosprings for breaking down microplastics


Xiaoguang Duag and a team at the University of Adelaide South Australia found that nanotechnology – which involves the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules – could be a solution to our plastic problem.

Duag and a team of scientists have created magnetic coils that will be used to break down microplastics using a chemical reaction.

These tiny magnetic coils are coated with nitrogen and manganese, causing a chemical reaction with oxygen molecules. This reaction can break down microplastics, turning them into environmentally friendly salt compounds, carbon dioxide and water. In a new study published in the journal Matter, scientists describe a new type of nanotechnology that could help: tiny magnetic “nano-coils” that create chemical reactions in order to break down microplastics in the ocean. The process converts the plastic into carbon dioxide and water.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 221: ‘The 8th Continent’

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care Your Home

216: Less thirsty rice

Problem:

Traditional rice farming is heavily reliant on ready supplies of water and labour. Climate change and urbanisation, however, threaten traditional paddy cultivation.

Solution:

A team led by plant development biologist Dr Smita Kurup at the Rothamstead Research in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines, and Punjab Agricultural University, India, are using use cutting edge plant breeding technologies, field trials and an image based system for measuring traits to accelerate the development of new direct seeded rice (DSR) adapted rice varieties that can be grown with less water than conventional puddled transplanted rice.


In many parts of Asia farmers are switching to direct seeded rice DSR as a more sustainable alternative. This is grown in dry fields, so uses less water and requires less work. It also cuts out the greenhouse gases that bacteria in paddy fields produce.

Kurup has already identified in the lab hitherto ‘unknown’ varieties more suitable to DSR in terms of their seedling traits by screening several hundred varieties from the International Rice Genebank at IRRI.

As a next step, the plan is to use these lines to combine with current good yielding and disease resistant rice cultivars to generate new high-yielding “DSR adapted” rice varieties.
Once developed, their field performance will be evaluated at multiple locations. Finally, the most promising breeding lines will be nominated for trails in Asia before releasing to farmers.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 217: Indoor vertical farms

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Your Home Planet Care

211: Xeriscaping your lawn

Problem:

Every year across the USA, manicured grass lawns covering up to 50 million acres of land, consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of gas (for all that motor mowing), and 70 million pounds of pesticides. … In fact, these lawns can do substantial harm to the environment and to both vertebrates and insects.

Solution:

Xeriscaping: lawns that are less thirsty.


The concept combining “landscape” with the Greek prefix xero-, from ξηρός (xēros), meaning dry, was coined and trademarked by Denver Water, the Colorado city of Denver’s water department, during a difficult drought period in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Lawns were a European invention, England to be precise, and they were the undertaking of the fabulously wealthy, seeking to bring the glade closer to home.

Originally, they were cultivated with more useful (though not necessarily used) plants like chamomile or thyme. However, the trend moved towards closely cropped grasses, first maintained by grazing sheep then by men with scythes and finally, eventually, moving along (in fast forward) to the suburban land owner with his fossil fuel lawnmower, trimmers, and multitude of weapons against nature.

A growing number of homeowners are converting part or all of their lawns to a less thirsty form of landscape. These no-mow yards fall into four categories: 1) naturalized or unmowed turf grass that is left to grow wild; 2) low-growing turf grasses that require little grooming (most are a blend of fescues); 3) native or naturalized landscapes where turf is replaced with native plants as well as noninvasive, climate-friendly ones that can thrive in local conditions; and 4) yards where edible plants—vegetables and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs—replace a portion of turf.

In Montreal, Canada, landscape gardeners Philippe Asselin, Emile Forest and Jonathan Lapalme have created an ngo “Les Nouveaux Voisins” (= the new neighbours) to replace lawns with gardens favorable to biodiversity.

They encourage individuals to change cultures to accommodate more plants, birds, insects, and other non-human neighbours. This in turn will reduce heat islands, increase carbon sequestration in soils as well as increased community resilience.

Organizations like the Surfriders Foundation, a national environmental group made up of surfing aficionados, have helped transform turf lawns in Southern California parks and homes into ocean-friendly gardens, using succulents and other indigenous plants along with hardscape materials like rocks and gravel that increase filtration, conserve water, and reduce runoff.

Xeriscaping goes one step further by replacing grassy lawns with soil, rocks, mulch, and drought-tolerant native plant species. Trees such as myrtles and flowers such as daffodils are drought-tolerant plants.

Native grasses (warm-season) that have been cultivated for turf lawns, such as buffalo grass and blue grama, can survive with a quarter of the water that bluegrass varieties need.

What you can do: Xeriscape your lawn.

Discover Solution 212: Drone fireworks

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

209: Predators as pesticides

Problem:

Chemical insecticides kill off good insects as they do bad ones, and they poison the ecosystems on which crops and wildlife thrive

Solution:

Using natural predators such as ladybird beetles as a form of pest control.


In 1888–1889 the vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis, a lady beetle, was introduced from Australia to California to control the cottony cushion scale, Icerya purchasi. This had become a major problem for the newly developed citrus industry in California, but by the end of 1889 the cottony cushion scale population had already declined.

This great success led to further introductions of beneficial insects into the US. A century later, the convergent lady beetles or bugs are a strong solution for the biological control of aphids. They will lay 600-700 eggs in batches of 40-50 close to the pests and during their larval stage, lady beetles will consume 600 aphids each and in doing so they help to protect crops.

Companies like Insect Lore have them for sale in batches of 1500 but often homeowners find them too expensive. The ladybugs should be released within one week of emerging from their pupal stage, preferably in the evening after sundown or in the morning before sunup.

Results of a study, published in June 2018 in Environmental Research Letters, demonstrated for the first time the economic benefit of using natural predators such as ladybird beetles as a form of pest control. The study estimated that cotton farmers in China could save more than US$300 million by doubling the density of ladybirds in their fields.

Discover Solution 210: Fighting rising seawater with The Great Wall of Lagos.

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Mobility Planet Care

192: Ships that cool ocean waters

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 193: underground rivers and hydro dams

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Materials Planet Care

190: Spray-on soil

Problem:

Every year 30 million ac (12 million ha) of productive land are lost due to desertification and drought. By 2025 1.8 billion people will suffer absolute water scarcity and 2/3 of the world will experience water-stressed conditions.

Solution:

Spray-on soil. An inorganic binder with static electric charge and a homogenised dispersion of clay particle consisting substantially of single flakes of clay and air bubbles dispersed in a fluid.


In 2005, Kristian P. Olesen, a veteran in the HVAC industry, based in Stavengar, Norway developed a mixture of clay and water called Liquid Nano Clay.  Olesen’s vision and that of Desert Control, the firm he founded with Atle Idlund, is to “Make Earth Green Again”.

Sprinklers are used to spray the LNC 1.6 ft (0.5 m) into the sand. The binder composition of clay and air bubbles then helps the sand hold water so crops can be grown.

One major use of the binder composition is to reclaim arid and hyper-arid deserts and to prevent desertification and the movement and advancement of sand dunes, in other words stopping wind erosion efficiently. With this process any poor-quality sandy soil could be transformed into high-yield agricultural land in only seven hours.

In a field test made using the world-patented LNC in the United Arab Emirates, two areas were planted with a selection of crops: tomatoes, aubergines and okra.

One was treated with LNC while a second control area was left untreated. While the untreated area used almost 4838 ft³ (137 m³). of water for irrigation, the one treated with LNC used just 2860 ft ³ (81 m³), an enable saving of up to 52% of irrigation water and increase yields with less strain on scarce resources.

Using LNC, deserts have been planted with over ten thousand trees, wheatfields, pepper fields. Other successful tests took place in Pakistan and China.

Olesen proposes that the biomass produced from desert-grown plants could provide clean electricity to power the desalinisation plants from which water could be used to irrigate the green deserts.

Among the awards received by Olesen and his son is the World Wildlife Foundation’s acclamation of Desert Control as a Climate Solver.

Discover Solution 191: Beating guns into plowshares, watches and writing pens

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

189: Hotspots

Problem:

Some regions of the Planet are home to a disproportionately high number of species which, threatened by human habitation, need special protection.

Solution:

Biodiversity hotspot zones.


In 1988, Norman Myers, an English environmentalist, published an article entitled “Threatened Biotas: ‘Hot Spots’ in Tropical Forests” in The Environmentalist wherein he proposed ten localities in the tropical forests by virtue of their floristic richness and deforestation rates. Myers called these ten localities as “hotspot” areas, thus, giving birth to the concept of biodiversity hotspots.

He recommended they should be made the focus of preservation efforts as a way to cut the rates of mass extinction. Another article, published in “Nature” in 2000 had been cited 19,000 times by 2017. This work was cited when Myers was named 2007 Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics, which is to say, it must have a high %age of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable and must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.

To date, ecologists have identified 36 biodiversity hotspots that cover about 15 % of the surface Earth: areas such as the Galápagos Islands, Madagascar, the West African rainforest, Japan, California and the Mediterranean coastline.

Among global hotspot initiatives, the World Wide Fund for Nature has derived a system called the “Global 200 Ecoregions”, the aim of which is to select priority Ecoregions for conservation within each of 14 terrestrial, 3 freshwater, and 4 marine habitat types.

They are chosen for their species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary.

Discover Solution 190: Spray-on soil

Categories
Planet Care

182: GreenR

Solution:

In addition to our solution N° 19 on Applications, GreenR allows you to report rubbish or geolocate it to pick it up.


Tired of seeing waste lying around everywhere, Ruben Longin, a 16-year-old high school student from Villefranche-sur-Saône, North of Lyon, France created the GreenR mobile application to collect cans, bottles, masks or other rubbish lying by the side of the road.

Launched in July 2020, the application available on all stores (Apple, Android, Google) already has more than 16,000 registered users, around 550 declared waste spots as well as around sixty organized collection walks.

Its users are mainly located in France, but also abroad, in 25 different countries, even if the application has not yet been translated

What you can do: Upload the GreenR app.

Discover Solution 183: Henna for hair

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

178: Great Bubble Barrier

Problem:

In 2015, Dutch students Saskia Studer, Anne Marieke Eveleens and Francis Zoet looked at the bubbles of a beer glass in a bar and thought they should do something similar to recuperate plastic waste in Amsterdam.

Solution:

The Great Bubble Barrier.


Philip Ehrhorn, a German student of naval architecture, had the same idea after seeing a water treatment plant in Australia. After he found out about the plans of the three Dutch women, they decided to join forces in Amsterdam.

Their design, a perforated tube laid across the bottom of the canal with compressed air pushed through, was commissioned by the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Management Board and the Municipality of Amsterdam as an extension of “Amsterdam Clean Water” which strives for clean plastic-free waters in Amsterdam.

The location of the Great Bubble Barrier, the Westerdok, is one of the points where the water flows from the monumental canals of Amsterdam into the IJ. The IJ flows into the North Sea Canal and this leads directly to the North Sea. This makes Westerdok an ideal place to catch Amsterdam’s canal plastic. Tests have shown it can divert more than 80% of flotsam.

Implemented in the fall of 2019, this first Bubble Barrier will run 24 hours a day for three years to supplement dredging operations, which currently collect 92,600 lbs. (42,000 kg.) of larger plastics from the Dutch capital’s waterways each year.

 

Discover solution 179: Bonds. Green Bonds.

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Planet Care

177: Graphene-based desalination membranes

Problem:

As the demand for fresh water increases worldwide, large-scale, new technologies for desalination are becoming increasingly sought after. Equally in wastewater treatment, the ability to remove industrial effluent, pesticides and hormones is becoming more important, especially when water re-use is considered.

Solution:

Graphene-based desalination membranes.


In the natural world, aquaporins rapidly shuttle water molecules into and out of cells and mimicking this function could help improve the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

One answer could be to use graphene, which is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick. Graphene is very strong, and sheets can be punctuated with sub-nanometre-sized pores that let water through while blocking salt.

While this works well for micrometre-sized membranes it is very difficult to make larger graphene sheets without defects, which act as large pores that let salt through.

Another approach is to create a membrane from a patchwork of small overlapping sheets of graphene oxide (also just one atom thick). Water can move through the membrane by permeating the gaps between the sheets, but the larger salt ions cannot.

While scientists have already made 0.4 in (1 cm) membranes this way, this material tends to swell-up when wet and let more salt through.

In Saudi Arabia, desalination researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have tailored the structure of graphene-oxide layers to mimic the hourglass shape of these biological channels, creating ultrathin membranes to rapidly separate chemical mixtures.

In China, Yanbing Yang and Xiangdong Yang at Wuhan University have developed a graphene-based desalination membrane with the potential to be scaled-up for practical applications. (en.whu.edu.cn)

In Australia, Mainak Majunder and a team at Nanoscale Science and Engineering Laboratory of Monash University, Melbourne, have developed a similar system that uses gravure printing, a widely available industrial printing process.

The technology will directly benefit Australian and international companies seeking energy savings and other cost advantages in water and wastewater filtration and industrial processes associated with pulp and paper, food and beverage, inks, pigments and dyes, pharmaceuticals and metals.

Supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program of approximately US$1.2 million, and with investment from industry partners Clean TeQ Holdings in Melbourne and Ionic Industries, the technology entered the commercialisation phase after undergoing seven years of research and development.

In June 2019, Clean TeQ announced the successful completion of its hardness removal demonstration project in Inner Mongolia.
The demonstration program treated waste-water from a large coal-to-chemical refinery, producing DME (Dimethyl Ether) owned by Jiutai New Material located about 60 mi (100 km) from Hohhot, China.

The process requires large volumes of industrial grade water, putting a strain on sources of water supply in this water scarce region. The demonstration program confirmed that increasing water recovery by adopting Clean TeQ’s CIF (Continuous Ionic Filtration) system could substantially reduce the plant’s net water use.

Discover Solution 178: The Great Bubble Barrier!

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.