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Human Effort Materials Planet Care Your Home

117: ecovelopes

Problem:

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

Solution:

Recyclable and biodegradable automatic insertion envelopes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Planet Care

116: ECOSTRESS

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s solution: ecovelopes are friendlier

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Planet Care

115: Permanently positioned ecological moorings

Problem:

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

 

Solution:

Permanently positioned ecological moorings


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s solution: Monitoring Planet Earth by satellite

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

114: Eco-City

Problem:

The history of the Planet is one of unending conflict between creeds, politicians and nations where the world’s resources are plundered indiscriminately.

Solution:

Auroville,: City of Dawn


In the 1960s, Mirra Alfassa, a 90-year-old a spiritual guru, known as “the Mother”, dreamed of a place where humanity can live united, in peace and in harmony with nature, beyond of all beliefs, political opinions and nationalities.

She asked French architect Roger Anger to design an experimental eco-city in Viluppuram district mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

She called it Auroville (“City of Dawn”). The inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968 was attended by delegates of 124 nations, who brought soils from all parts of the world. In the mixing of these soils, known as a Yagna began the journey of one-ness.

Endorsed by UNESCO and the Government of India, Auroville is now famous for being known as the most environment friendly and pollution free city of India.

Construction materials used are mainly organic and natural including wood, mud, grass, stabilised earth bricks and fired bricks. In the early 1960s and 70s, a small group of pioneering residents took up extensive tree planting to rejuvenate the barren land and harvest rainwater. There is now a forest of over two million trees and some of them exotic.

Since then, Aurovilians (residents of Auroville) have been constantly experimenting with new ideas and solutions in areas of forestation, organic farming, renewable energy, water management, waste treatment, building technologies and environmental awareness programs among others.

Auroville’s EcoService collects waste from 2/3rd’s of the Aurovilians while the remaining 1/3rd prefer to dispose waste in their own way. 60% of the waste collected is recycled while the rest 40% is land filled. Auroville is working towards a zero waste policy.

In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which was conceived by Alfassa as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”.

Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and the entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called the Peace area. Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air-conditioned chamber of polished white marble referred to as “a place to find one’s consciousness”.

Matrimandir is equipped with a solar power plant and is surrounded by manicured gardens. When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by a beam from a solar-powered light.

There is a solar kitchen equipped to cook for over 1,000 people everyday primarily uses the energy generated from the largest solar collector in Asia developed and build indigenously at Auroville.

Windmills, mainly used to pump water, are a common sight in Auroville along with many solar power panels that provide energy to almost everything in Auroville, ranging from the street lights to the big town hall. Bicycles or motorised 2-wheelers (and some electric 2-wheelers) can be rented.

As of January 2018 Auroville had 2,814 residents (2,127 adults and 687 children) from 54 countries with two-thirds from India, France and Germany

What you can do: Visit and stay at Auroville and/or apply its solution to your local community.

Tomorrow’s solution: Eco-friendly boat moorings

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Energy Materials

113: Ecocapsule

Problem:

Most homes are dependent on an external supply of electricity, even most caravans and mobile homes which are limited to a campsite. Tents also have their limitations.

Solution:

The ECOCAPUSLE off-grid-no-footprint microhome.


Soňa Pohlová obtained a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) focused in architecture and urbanism from Slovak Technical University, Bratislava, Slovakia and Arquitectura La Salle, Barcelona. With Tomáš Zácek, Soňa co-founded Nice Architects in Bratislava.

In 2009 they submitted a bid for a competition to design a luxurious mobile home that could operate off-grid and leave no trace. During the next five years, Nice Architects were working on the technological and product design of the Ecocapsule in order to bring the best possible product.

By 2014, the development of technology for the Ecocapsule was ready. It is designed to produce more energy than it consumes, as long as the external temperature remains between 4 °F (−16 °C) and 104 °F (40 °C).

Energy for the pod is renewable, sourced through an 880-watt (1.18 hp) solar cell array and a silent 750-watt wind turbine, which is then stored in a 9,744-watt-hour (35,080 kJ) battery that can hold four days worth of electrical charge batteries for later use.

With this energy, the pod can be off-grid all-year-round, and can even charge an electric car. Other energy-conservation features of the dwelling are its high-efficiency climate control system and a heat exchanger that uses exhaust air to warm fresh incoming air.

The Ecocapsule also harnesses rainwater with its 25.3-US-gallon (96 liter) reservoir, which is located beneath the dwelling’s floor. The water is cleaned via a pre-filtration system and two UV LED lamps.

Drinking water is also provided by filters installed on the faucets. The Ecocapsule also features a waterless separating toilet. The Ecocapsule has a central computer that monitors its electricity and water levels, and can be controlled via a mobile app.

The Ecocapsule should allow its occupants to live off the grid for several weeks to several months

On May 28, 2015, nice&wise (ex-Nice Architects) publically unveiled their Ecocapsule at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival after six years of development.

Limited to 50 customers from the USA, Japan, Australia and EU, at a price of US$98,000, the patented Ecocapsule is a luxury item for one to two people, but other potential applications include a disaster-relief shelter or a scientific research station.

By July 2015, thousands of pre-orders had already been made and interest generated among celebrities such as Susan Sarandon.

In January 2018, the company launched production of the First Series Ecocapsules, limited to 50 pieces. The first micro-home is available for rent to the general public in Bratislava, positioned on a footbridge in the Zuckermandel district, with a beautiful view overlooking the Danube river.

A second Ecocapsule was set up in the Netherlands. The company is now working the the Second Series Ecocapsule.

What you can do: If you enjoy camping, make it as eco-friendly as possible.

Tomorrow’s solution: Auroville in India

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Your Home Human Effort

112: Eat-Lancet commission

Problem:

There is a need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our Planet.

Solution:

The EAT-Lancet Commission consists of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries from various scientific disciplines, among them Dr Walter Willett of the Harvard Medical School.


The goal of the Commission was to reach a scientific consensus by defining targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. It proposes an approach to eating that balances the appetites of a growing global population with the increasing fragility of the earth itself.

The EAT-Lancet Commission diet consists of a large amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grain, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils, some seafood and poultry, and little to no red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables

What you can do: Create a balanced diet for yourself and for those around you.

Tomorrow’s solution: the Ecocapsule  home – producing more energy than it consumes

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Planet Care Human Effort

111: The Earthshot Prize

Problem:

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

Solution:

The Earthshot Prize


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

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

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

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

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

Discover solution 112: A healthier approach to eating

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Planet Care

110: Earthquake warning system

Problem:

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

Solution:

Earthquake warning system


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you can do: Stay alert to earthquake warnings.

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

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

109: Earth Overshoot Day

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

Discover solution 110: early warning system for earthquakes

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Human Effort Planet Care

108: e-cigarette

Problem:

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

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

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

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

Solution:

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover solution 109: Global warning about our limited resources

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Your Home

107: Dishwashing balls

Problem:

In 1889, when after ten years of prototypes Mrs W.A. Cockran of Shelbyville, Indiana, USA, produced an electrically operated dish-washing machine, neither its energy and water consumption, nor the harmful effects of chemical detergents on the ecosystem, were taken into account.

Solution:

Dishwashing balls


The eco-efficient bio dish washing machine has become of primary importance and one key solution is the natural ceramic Eco Hi-Ball.

The Eco Hi-Ball for dishwashers uses oxygenation of the water to effectively clean and shine, without the harmful effects of a chemical detergent.

Its case body is formed by thermally bonding a top plate and a bottom plate and has through holes formed in an outer side portion to completely drain the washing water at the time of washing dishes. In this way the washing balls can be maintained in a dried state and their efficiency.

What you can do: Use Eco Hi-Balls.

Discover solution 108: relief from the most common source of ocean plastic pollution

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Energy

106: Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell

Problem:

Although multi-junction silicon solar cells have achieved astounding efficiencies of over 40%, they still require sunlight.

Solution:

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) only require daylight.


This is because they mimic the ability of plants to capture photons of light and turn them into electricity. This is achieved by using special dyes to capture the energy in light at different wavelengths, just like chlorophyll pigments in plants.

As compared to conventional silicon solar cells, DSSCs have the ability to capture ambient diffuse daylight and weaker sunlight. They can also be integrated into liquids and gels, hence allowing solar cells to be tinted and installed on window panels.

Over the past two decades, conversion efficiencies have reached 16 % and excellent stability has been attained, rendering the DSSC a credible alternative to conventional p-n junction PV converters.

When they were developed in the early 1990s by Michael Grätzel of Switzerland and Brian O’Regan of the University of California at Berkeley, DSSCs had an efficiency of 7 %, since increased to 16 % by using new pigments as light harvesters in particular metal perovskites.

In 2008 G24 Power, a company in Newport, Wales went into mass production of DSSCs, trade-named GCells. One machine creates rolls of cells up to 1,640 ft. (500 m) long and 6 in. 15 cm) wide. A secondary DSSC manufacturing process customizes and finishes the GCell into a module to suit the size requirements of the customer.

An interconnect between the GCell module and the product mating printed circuit board (PCB) is added, and finally the GCell module is encapsulated to provide environmental protection. A 106,000 sq. yard ( 89,000 m²) factory can produce more than 550,000 yards (503,000 m) of lightweight flexible large GCell modules per year.

They are employed in back packs to provide power for portable electronics (computers, cell phones, tablets etc.) Using DSSC, Pro12 rugby league installed iBeacon technology in their home stadium, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, Wales. Manufacturer G24, a beacon and energy innovation company, installed all of the parts in the stadium, crafting a low-power and sustainable option for the rugby team.

G24 is supported by its R&D laboratory at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland plus a product development and integration team in Dongguan, China.

Various approaches have been used to prevent electrolytic leaking with DSCCs by using H2-reduced carbon, ionic liquid or wet-laid PET membrane electrolytes.

Sony has developed DSSC panels for car battery charging. The production is presently scaled up at SICCAS, a research-based enterprise wholly financed by the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, in China.

Eunkyoung Kim and colleagues have paired a DSSC with polymer films to make an even more efficient hybrid which, although it is a great deal more expensive than others, has an increased solar energy production that far outweighs the higher cost.

The conductive polymer known as PEDOT is layered with a DSSC, then placed atop a pyroelectric thin film and a thermoelectric device, both of which can convert heat into electricity.

The result is a contraption that harnesses solar energy at a rate of more than 20 % higher than the solar cell on its own. This is made possible because the hybrid cell can generate electricity from the sun’s heat as well as light.

What you can do: If your locality gets mediochre sunlight, use DSSCs.

Discover solution 107: No soap dishwashing

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Energy

105: Dual chemical energy storage system

Problem:

How to electrochemically store sustainable energy?

Solution:

Customised containers.


Yuasa Battery Europe has helped to develop and build the world’s first container-based energy storage platform where lead acid and lithium-ion batteries are combined to feed a power conversion system. The ground-breaking unit will store and control the release of locally generated renewable energy back into the grid.

GS Yuasa partnered with Infinite Group, the University of Sheffield and Innovate UK to develop the platform, called ADEPT (Advanced multi-Energy management and oPTtimisation time shifting platform) which has been constructed at their battery manufacturing facility on the Rassau Industrial Estate in Ebbw Vale.

ADEPT is unique and completely self-contained within a 20 ft weatherproof shipping container, allowing it to be integrated rapidly into any renewable energy micro-grid configuration and avoiding the need for internal space.

The platform features two GS Yuasa battery systems; a 75Kw hour lithium-ion battery system of 36 GS Yuasa LIM50 modules alongside a 250 Kw hour Valve Regulated Lead Acid battery system of 240 Yuasa SLR500 cells. The two systems are connected to a 100Kw bi-direction power conversion unit as well as full monitoring and battery management systems.

ADEPT uses the GS Yuasa dual chemistry battery system, which stores the energy generated by wind turbines on the industrial estate and solar panels on the roof of the container. An ADEPT container can thus re-charge four mid-range electric cars simultaneously.

Discover solution 106: Solar energy from daylight

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Mobility Planet Care

104: Drones for agriculture

Problem:

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

Solution:

Precision-spraying drones


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you can do: Tell local farmers about drones.

Discover solution 105: Batteries in a shipping container

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Materials Human Effort

103: Drainage socks for plastic waste recuperation

Problem:

For years, many towns all over Australia have been battling with waste such as plastic containers, bottles, paper and vegetation discharged into the city’s waterways by stormwater drains.

Solution:

The drainage sock.


In Kwinana, a town of 40,000 inhabitants, just south of Perth in Western Australia, they considered a drainage sock as developed in the early 1990s by a fisherman based in New South Wales, then acquired by the South Australian-based Urban Asset Solutions.

The 35 in. (90 cm) wide black polyethylene sock has of a stainless-steel sleeve extension and is cleverly designed to pull shut like a drawstring bag when full.

In March 2018, Mayor Carol Adams and Kwinana Council installed two Ecosol Net Tech drainage socks over stormwater drains in the local Henley Reserve. Later, by removing them full of plastic waste and pollutants, they effectively eliminated the risk of flooding during peak-flow storms, particularly in areas where road drainage is discharged into public open spaces and wetland reserves.

During the trial, 815 lbs (370 kg) of debris consisting of food wrappers, plastic bottles, sand and tree leaves was cleaned out of the nets, the plastic sent off for recycling.

While three more locations were identified as suitable drainage points for further nets to be installed following the trial’s success, images posted by the Kwinana Council on social media went viral worldwide, scoring over 25 million views and obtaining enquiries from New Zealand, the USA, Chile, Brazil, many European countries, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Zambia and China.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring City of Cockburn has become the first West Australian council to build a new road out of recycled plastic. About 40,000 single use plastic bags collected by supermarkets across Australia were melted into an asphalt mix used to pave a laneway in Port Coogee.

What you can do: Tell your town or village hall about the Kwinana drainage sock.

Discover Solution 104: Drones on the farm.

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Human Effort Materials Your Home

102: Dopper bottle

Problem:

Single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills.

Solution:

The Dopper bottle


Merijn Everaarts lived near BloomendahlSee beach in Haarlem, North Holland Province, the Netherlands, where he daily saw plastic bags and bottles either left by holidaymakers or washed in by the tide.

In October 2009, after watching a documentary about ‘plastic soup’ Merijn joined in the search for a solution for plastic waste and a better plastic use lifestyle.

Merijn, an entrepreneur in the event and marketing business, joined the local Haarlem Legacy, a group of 25 creative people who were pitching ideas every few weeks to make the perfect disposable plastic bottle for tap water.

In 2010, Merijn launched a design competition. Rinke van Remorte, working at VDL Hapro having graduated at TU Delft, won that competition. Remorte beat nearly a 100 other contestants because he provided a sleek and clean design while also making it durable (lasting up to five years).

The name chosen was Dopper. From the 16th Century, a dop as a kind of hat inspired by the Middle Dutch dop or dopper meaning shell, or goblet or pot. The first real Dopper bottles (certified B-Corp), were released on October 10, 2010, also known as Durability Day which created a lot of media attention. A Dopper bottle prevents 40 single-use water bottles from entering our oceans.

In 2017, 1,687,598 Doppers were sold. The  Dopper Foundation conducts an annual Change maker Challenge where students doing Masters in any Dutch university can apply and participate. The participants should select a topic for thesis either on water management or plastic waste. With 5% of the net proceeds, since the very first water bottle was sold, Dopper has been donating to the Simavi water projects in Nepal.

They are part of the WASH programme. By installing water points and toilets, tens of thousands of Nepalese people now have better access to drinking water and sanitary facilities. Dopper Foundation started in the southern district of Ruphendi, and in the Gorkha and Baglung districts for 20.000 people. When they teamed up with local partner Sebac, they extended their projects to the Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha districts.

In 2018, Dopper introduced an insulated water bottle. Designed to keep drinks hot or cold, this is the first insulated bottle the company has added to its line. According to the company, the bottle will keep drinks hot for 9 hours and cold for up to 24 hours and holds 17 oz. (0.5 liter) of liquid.

That June Dopper Foundation and National Geographic Encounter unveiled a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge in Times Square made with 5,000 single-use plastic water bottles to turn the tide on plastic pollution through Art and education. The plastic bridge replica represents the scale of bottles sold in a split second – 5,000. (dopper.com)

What you can do: Use Dopper and other re-usable bottles such as thermos flasks.

Discover solution 103:

Catching the city’s waste, with giant socks.

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Human Effort Planet Care Your Home

101: Documentary films

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you can do: Download and watch these movies.

Discover Solution 102: Dopper bottle from Holland

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Carbon Capture Energy Human Effort Materials Mobility Planet Care Your Home

Solution 100

Solution:

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

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

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

Discover solution 101: Documentary films to make us aware

 

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Planet Care

99: Digital nose forest fire alarm

Problem:

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

Solution:

“Digital nose” forest fire alarm.


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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s solution:Dish washing without detergent.

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Human Effort Your Home

98: Biodegradable diapers

Problem:

Parents who use disposable diapers will throw away 4,000 to 6,000 of the items by the time their baby is potty trained. The vast majority of diapers are not recyclable and must be thrown away with general waste, meaning they will probably end up in landfill or being burnt.

Solution:

Eco-friendly diapers.


In 1991, Moltex in Germany launched the world’s first unbleached panty diaper. Its components were wood (cellulose, absorbent material) harvested from sustainable forestry operations bearing the seal of the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council), a 100% chlorine-free absorbent core (TCF) and a tea-leaf extract to bind odours. They were designed to biodegrade within 50 years.

ECO diapers developed by Marlene Sandberg of Stockholm, Sweden use wood pulp responsibly harvested from Scandinavian forests as the main absorbent and are fully biodegradable. The conventional plastic outer sheet has been replaced with a biodegradable material made from maize starch and cellulose fiber, both natural materials. ECO is the first eco nappy to receive OK Biobased Certification by Vincotte, one of the world’s most demanding independent certifications.

Another solution is diapers made from breathable bamboo fibres and chlorine-free wood pulp, making them more than 60% decomposed in less than 3 months and can achieve ~80% decomposition over time. Bambo Nature eco diapers are manufactured in a production facility where 95% of the production waste is recycled, making Bambo Nature one of the most eco-friendly diapers on the market.

Since September 2019, a French composting company called Les Alchimistes has been experimenting with the composting of 11 million diapers coming from ten nurseries around Paris.
The truckloads of compost produced will be sold to horticulturists. Co-founder Alexandre Guilluy realising that the only element for which they have not reached a bio-sourced solution is the attachment scratches. However they are working to launch the manufacture of 100% compostable diapers.

What you can do: Use bio-diapers for your baby.

Tomorrow’s solution: Forest fire alert system.

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Human Effort

97: Desalination via aquaporin water channel protein

Problem:

Worldwide water purification remains a major challenge.

Solution:

Desalination via aquaporin water channel protein


In the late 1980s, Peter Agre, a physician-scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, found an unknown protein that contaminated his every attempt to isolate the Rh protein from red blood cells. Intrigued by this mysterious interloper, Agre persevered until he revealed its function and structure.

The protein, which he named “aquaporin,” turned out to be an essential piece of the cell’s apparatus for maintaining the right balance of water inside and outside of the cell. Its structure is superbly adapted to let water molecules, and only water molecules, pass through in large number with remarkable efficiency and speed.

Aquaporins are crucial for life in all organisms, from bacteria via plants to man. They facilitate rapid, highly selective water transport across the cell membrane, thus allowing the cell to regulate its volume and internal osmotic pressure according to hydrostatic and/or osmotic pressure differences.

The importance of the aquaporin for humans is perhaps most conspicuous in the kidney, where 40 to 50 gallons (150-200 litres) of water need to be reabsorbed from the primary urine each day, that is, aquaporin facilitated water transport is invoked when water must be rapidly retrieved from a body fluid.

Aquaporin water channels are also important to life on Earth, also transforming our ability to purify drinking water at a large scale, that in 2003 the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Professor Agre for his discovery.

The need for clean water is an equally compelling problem being tackled by bio-engineers. Biophysicist Morten Østergaard Jensen speculated that aquaporin could form the basis of a biological water filter.

Together with entrepreneur Peter Holme Jensen, he formed a company in 2005 that aimed to scale up aquaporin-based water filtration. Aquaporin A/S in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, has developed Aquaporin Inside technology devices to be employed in industrial and household water filtration and purification.

Aquaporin InsideTap Water Reverse Osmosis elements are sold globally and in standard configuration from 1812 up to 8040 elements, making it easy for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use in their systems for a more sustainable production of healthy drinking water.

In September 2015, Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen used Aquaporin A/S membranes to filter the water he drank in space. Making sure that astronauts have enough to drink is one of the toughest parts to figuring out long-term space travel. Water is heavy, quickly used and expensive to get into orbit. To put it into perspective, it costs US$10,000 per pound to launch a spaceship, and a gallon of water weighs 8.33 lb (3.8 kg).

Since 2011, Aquaporin had been working with NASA and Danish Aerospace Company, testing prototypes in a lab so that four years later Mogensen and crew members were able to drink filtered urine on the International Space Station.

In June 2018, Berghof Membrane Technology, a manufacturer of tubular membranes for the filtration and separation of industrial process streams and wastewater, signed a joint development agreement with Aquaporin A/S, wherein both companies would leverage their respective expertise in forward osmosis (FO) and tubular membrane technologies to launch products targeted for high-strength industrial wastewater and food and beverage process streams.

Aquaporin also teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to form a student program to further develop research into the applications of aquaporin. Two Chinese companies are also involved.

According to a report issued in August 2019 by Bridge Market Research, The global tubular membrane market is projected to be US$ 137.33 billion by 2026. This increase in market value stems from a growing interest and concern for the environment and a lack of freshwater sources, leading to increased interest in water treatment and purification systems.

Alongside Aquaporin, a host of companies are now involved: MICRODYN-NADIR; Filtration Group Corporation; Dynatec Systems; Spintek; Pentair plc; Berghof Membranes; Duraflow LLC; Hyflux Ltd.; Athersys Inc.; BASF SE; Lenntech B.V.; Markel Corporation; Synder Filtration, Inc.; Koninklijke DSM N.V.; Koch Membrane Systems, Inc.; ASTOM Corporation; KATMAJ Filtration; CleaNsep Systems; Advent Envirocare Technology Pvt. Ltd.; SEPRA S.r.l.; M.W. Watermark, L.L.C.; Christian Bürkert GmbH & Co. KG and SUEZ.

What you can do: Be frugal in your use of fresh drinking water and selective in your choice of bottles

Discover solution 97: biodegradable diapers

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Mobility Your Home

96: Delivery vehicle, door-to-door

Problem:

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

Solution:

The door-to-door delivery vehicle


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s solution: Aquaporins for purifying water

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Planet Care

95: De-extinction via DNA

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This of course includes plants.

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

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

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

Discover Solution 96: picnics delivered to your home

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Planet Care

94: De-extinction

Problem:

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

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

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

It is called the Sixth Extinction.

Solution:

De-extinction aka resurrection biology


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 95: CRISPR via DNA

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Energy

93: Cryogenic energy storage (CES)

Problem:

What to do with excess energy from thermal generation plants, steel mills and LNG terminals.

Solution:

A CRYOBattery


Cryogenic energy storage makes use of excess energy, such as that generated by renewable sources, which cannot be sent immediately to the grid to liquefy air and store the liquid until the electricity is needed and can be distributed. At this point, the liquid air is allowed to evaporate and expand through a turbine, where its latent energy of vaporisation is converted into electric current.

Connecting to thermal generation plants, steel mills and LNG terminals can further boost the system’s efficiency and diversify its offering.

In 2011, a 300 kW, 2.5 MWh storage capacity pilot cryogenic energy system was developed by researchers at the University of Leeds and Highview Power that used liquid air (with the CO2 and water removed as they would turn solid at the storage temperature) as the energy store, and low-grade waste heat to boost the thermal re-expansion of the air.

In April 2014 the UK government announced it had given £8 million to Viridor and Highview Power to fund the next stage of the demonstration. The resulting grid-scale demonstrator plant at Pilsworth Landfill facility in Bury, Greater Manchester, UK, started operation in April 2018.

This was based on research by the Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage (BCCES) associated with the University of Birmingham, and had storage for up to 15 MWh, with a peak supply of 5 MW (so when fully charged lasts for three hours at maximum output) and is designed for an operational life of 40 years.

With Highview Power’s Potentially CRYOBattery is able to deliver anywhere from 20 MW/80 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy to power up to 200,000 homes for a whole day.

In June 2020, Highview, teamed up with Carlton Power and announced construction of the world’s biggest liquid air battery with a capacity of 50 MW/250 MWh at a the Trafford Energy Park, a decommissioned thermal power station site in the North of England. With the first system scheduled to go into operation by 2022, another four will be set up in the UK, able to deliver a total of over 1GWh.

Discover Solution 94: Bringing extinct animals back to life.

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Human Effort

92 :Crowdfunding

Problem:

Solutions created by start-ups need funding to kick-start them.

Solution:

Online Crowdfunding


Created by entrepreneur Michael Sullivan in 2006, crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing sources of funds for any new venture. It is a method of funding a venture or project through the collective efforts of family, friends, customers and individual investors. There are many crowdfunding platforms or websites that investors can use. Crowdfunding is a particularly well-suited idea for any green business.

In 2008, Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell of San Francisco, California launched an “all or nothing” crowdfunding website they called “Indiegogo.” Powered by curiosity, the Indiegogo community has helped bring more than 800,000 innovative ideas to life since 2008.

Today, Indiegogo’s group of backers is more than 9 million strong, representing 235 countries and territories. While it covers every industry, it has a section called Environment. With the right idea, entrepreneurs have reason to be optimistic.

Among successful Indiegogo campaigns for green businesses: Crowdcube electric carpooling club; Powervault for its its domestic electricity storage device project, Sondors Electric Bike and more.

What you can do: If you are planning to create an eco-friendly start-up, use firms such as Indiegogo.

Discover Solution 93: the Cryobattery, so cool!

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Materials Carbon Capture Your Home

91: Cross-laminated timber

Problem:

The dependency on concrete and steel to build everything from homes to sports stadiums comes at a severe environmental cost. Concrete is responsible for 4 – 8% of the world’s CO₂ emissions.

Solution:

Cross-laminated timber.


Some architects are therefore arguing for – and pressing ahead with – a return to wood as our primary building material. Wood from managed forestry actually stores carbon as opposed to emitting it: as trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As a rule of thumb, 35 cubic ft. (1 cubic meter) of wood contain around a tonne of CO² more or less, depending on the species of tree.

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, has become the primary material on the construction site. It is an “engineered wood”, the planks of which are made stronger by gluing them in layers of three, with each layer perpendicular to the other. This means that the CLT does not bow or bend, it has integral strength in two directions allowing the manufacture of plates or surfaces – or walls.

It is a plywood made of boards that can reach enormous dimensions: between 7.8 ft. (2.40 m) and 13 ft. (4.00 m) high, and up to 40 ft. (12 m) long. CLT is a renewable, green and sustainable material, since it is made out of wood and does not require the burning of fossil fuels during production. CLT, however, is below 1% adhesive, and typically uses a bio-based polyurethane. The planks are bonded together under heat and pressure to fuse that small amount of adhesive using the moisture of the wood.

CLT was first developed and used in Germany and Austria in 1994 after Austrian-born researcher Gerhard Schickhofer at Graz University of Technology presented his PhD thesis research on CLT, “Starrer und nachgiebiger Verbund bei geschichteten, flächenhaften Holzstrukturen” (“Rigid and resilient composite in layered, flat wood structures”).

This was partly in response to the death of the furniture and paper industries. 60 % of Austria is forest and they needed to find a new sales outlet.

Indeed it was Austria which published “Holzmassivbauweise”, the first national CLT guidelines in 2002, based on Schickhofer’s extensive research. These national guidelines are credited with paving a path for the acceptance of engineered elements in multi-story buildings.

Many CLT factories in Austria are even powered by renewable biomass using the offcuts, branches and twigs. Some factories produce enough electricity to power the surrounding communities. (tugraz.at)

Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT) and Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT) have been revived, while stick-framing started looking good again because it is so efficient in its use of wood.

An increasing number of architects now build tall with CLT, allowing the construction of buildings with up to 30 floors for the 180 ft. (53m) Brock Commons Tallwood House, in Vancouver, in Canada, up to 18 floors in Finland and in Sshickhofer’s native country, the 276 ft (84m), 24-storey ‘HoHo Tower’ nearing completion in the Seestadt Aspern area of Vienna, Austria.

76 % of the latter structure will be constructed from CLT, which will save a 2,800 tonnes of CO₂ emissions over similar structures built out of steel and concrete. Moreover, 1 m³ of concrete weighs approximately 2.7 tons (2.5 tonnes), while 35 cubic ft. (1 m³) of CLT weighs 882 lbs (400 kg) and has the same resistance. The same goes for steel.

Completed in March 2019 after two years of construction, the 280 ft (85.4 m) “Mjøstårnet” 18-storey skyscraper, located in Brumunddal, some 60 mi (100 km) north of Oslo is built in CLT. It takes its name from Lake Mjøsa, on the edge of which it was built.

Designed by Voll Arkitekter its timber was located and prepared within a radius of 10 mi (15 km) around the tower. Containing apartments, hotel, a 10,760 ft² (4,700 m²) swimming hall. office space and a restaurant, it has been declared “The Tallest Timber Building in the World.” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

In 2019, Gerhard Schickhofer, Head of the Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology at Graz University of Technology, was awarded the Marcus Wallenberg of SEK 2 million (US$ 209,000).

What you can do: Live and work in buildings constructed using CLT

Discover Solution 92: Crowdfunding for Planet care

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Materials Planet Care

90: Crop fertilizer from recycled batteries

Problem:

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

Solution:

Recycling battery elements as crop fertilizer.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 90: cross-laminated timber

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Carbon Capture Your Home

89 :Credit card as personal CO2 calculator

Problem:

There were a total of 1.06 billion credit cards in 2017 and the projection for 2022 is close to 1.2 billion. Cards are made of several layers of plastic laminated together. The core is commonly made from a plastic resin known as polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA). This resin is mixed with opacifying materials, dyes, and plasticizers to give it the proper appearance and consistency. This bodes badly for landfills.

Solution:

A personal CO2 calculator.


In 2008, Discover launched a “green” credit card made of biodegradable PVC, 99 % of which can be absorbed back into the environment given the right conditions. Discover contended that, with exposure to soil, water, compost, and other microorganisms, the card will degrade completely within nine months to 5 years.

But can a biodegradable card do more than facilitate purchases? Having worked for nearly ten years in Sweden’s banking and insurance section, when Nathalie Green was faced with the inertia of large institutions to respond to the climate change emergency, she decided to leave her post and dedicate all her energy to the creation of products to accelerate the ecological transition.

Founding a company called Doconomy, Nathalie conceived “Do”, a mobile application that measures CO2 emissions from our purchases. From there on, Doconomy has progressed to the Do-Card, incorporating technology from the Ålands Bank Index, a Finnish financial tool that uses big data to match every purchase with the most accurate estimation of CO2 emissions related to its production and consumption.

Specifically, each time the card is used, its owner receives an alert that indicates the carbon footprint of the purchase. For example, at a checkout, he will know that the purchase of jeans is 70 lb (32 kg) of CO2. Those who sign up to DO will receive access to a free savings account that helps them understand their carbon footprint, learn about UN-certified climate compensation projects, and discover investment funds that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

The card itself is made of bio-sourced material and is printed with Air-Ink, which was our Solution #6  and with no magnetic strip is the first of its kind in the world. For this solution, Doconomy is working with Mastercard via their global network, reaching and levering the power of consumers all over the world and direct capital towards sustainable initiatives. In October 2020 when Mastercard launched the expansion of the Priceless Planet Coalition to support planting 100 million trees, Doconomy was one of the 33 banking partners.

What you can do: Buy and use a Do-Card and tell your friends about it.

Discover  Solution 90: crop fertilizer from recycled batteries

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Planet Care

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

Problem:

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

Solution:

An early-warning system.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 89: carbon footprint credit card

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