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

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Categories
Energy

265: Reverse fuel cell

Solution:

A University of Toronto engineering team, headed by Professor Ted Sargent, announced the development of an electrolyzer that can make valuable chemicals from captured CO₂ and clean electricity at 10 times the speed of existing electrolyzers.

The device is similar to a fuel cell except running in reverse. In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen combine on the surface of a catalyst, releasing electrons. In the electrolyzer, the electricity drives the reaction, transforming the hydrogen ions in water and CO₂ into another carbon-based molecule like ethylene.

The U of T research team’ electrolyzer design speeds up the process by pairing a copper-based catalyst composed of small particles embedded in a layer of Nafion, an ion-conducing polymer commonly used in fuel cells.

In their experiments, they proposed that a certain arrangement of Nafion can facilitate the transport of gases such as CO₂. The next step will be to boost the catalyst’s durability so it lasts for thousands of hours rather than its current 10 hour lifespan. In addition, team members will also work on optimizing the system to product other carbon-based products like ethanol.

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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

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Categories
Energy

263: Oceanic thermal energy collectors (OTECS)

Problem:

The oceans cover a little more than 70 % of the Earth’s surface: this makes them the world’s largest solar energy collector and energy storage system. On an average day, 23 million mi.² (60 million km²) of tropical seas absorb an amount of solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oil.

If less than one-tenth of one % of this stored solar energy could be converted into electric power, it would supply more than 20 times the total amount of electricity consumed in the United States on any given day.

Solution:

OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) is a form of Solar Thermal Energy technology that essentially uses the ocean as a solar collector. OTEC takes advantage of the small temperature differential that exists between the warm surface of the sea and the cooler water at the bottom.


In deep waters in excess of 3280 ft (1000 m) this difference is as much as 20°C. In 1881, Jacques Arsene d’Arsonval, a French physicist, proposed tapping the thermal energy of the ocean.

D’Arsonval’s student, Georges Claude, built the first OTEC plant, in Matanzas, Cuba in 1930. The system generated 22 kW of electricity with a low-pressure turbine. The plant was later destroyed in a storm.

His idea called for a closed-cycle system.Thanks too recent technological advances in heat exchangers, D’Arsonval’s concept was demonstrated in 1979, when a small plant mounted on a barge off Hawaii (Mini-OTEC) produced 50 kW of gross power, with a net output of 18 kW. Subsequently, a 100 kW gross power, land-based plant was operated in the island nation of Nauru by a consortium of Japanese companies.

The economics of energy production today have delayed the financing of a permanent, continuously operating OTEC plant. However, OTEC is very promising as an alternative energy resource for tropical island communities that rely heavily on imported fuel.

OTEC plants in these markets could provide islanders with much-needed power, as well as desalinated water and a variety of mariculture products. One of the disadvantages of land-based OTEC plants is the need for a 1.86 mi (3 km.) long cold water pipe to transport the large volumes of deep seawater required from a depth of about 3,280 ft. (1,000 m).

Currently the world’s only operating OTEC plant is in Japan, overseen by Saga University. Japan is a major contributor to the development of OTEC technology. Beginning in 1970 the Tokyo Electric Power Company successfully built and deployed a 100 kW closed-cycle OTEC plant on the island of Nauru.

The plant became operational on October 14, 1981, producing about 120 kW of electricity; 90 kW was used to power the plant and the remaining electricity was used to power a school and other places. This set a world record for power output from an OTEC system where the power was sent to a real (as opposed to an experimental) power grid. (ioes.saga-u.ac.jp)

1981 also saw a major development in OTEC technology when Russian engineer, Dr. Alexander Kalina, used a mixture of ammonia and water to produce electricity. This new ammonia-water mixture greatly improved the efficiency of the power cycle.

In 1994 Saga University designed and constructed a 4.5 kW plant for the purpose of testing a newly invented Uehara cycle, also named after its inventor Haruo Uehara. This cycle included absorption and extraction processes that allow this system to outperform the Kalina cycle by 1-2 %.

Currently, the Institute of Ocean Energy, Saga University, is the leader in OTEC power plant research and also focuses on many of the technology’s secondary benefits. The laboratory located at lmari bay area, some 50km to the north from the administrative office in Saga City, functions as our study center of fundamental and practical aspects of OTEC technology.

The Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation with offices in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii, The Bahamas, and Cayman Islands been preparing clean hydrothermal energy plants worldwide using the proven technologies of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC).

Since 1988, OTE has established a noteworthy pipeline of projects with a signed energy services agreement (ESA), four signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) and proposals to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and United States Department of Defense (USDoD).

In 2017, new Rankine power cycle utilising a combination of ocean thermal energy and geothermal waste energy, called a GeOTEC (Geo-Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) power cycle/plant. The potential geothermal waste heat, which exists in the form of raw hot natural gas would be continuously pumped from a shallow water Malaysia-Thailand Joint Authority (MTJA) gas production platform, and the supply data is estimated based on the output of the platform.

A thermodynamic model derived from an energy balance calculation is used to simulate the proposed GeOTEC cycle with Matlab. With higher superheated ammonia temperature, GeOTEC power plant efficiency increases, while the net power output decreases. A maximum net power produced by the proposed GeOTEC is 32.593 MW.

Discover Solution 264: Palm Oil synthetic

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Categories
Carbon Capture

262: MechanicalTree

Problem:

Natural trees and plants are limited in the quantity of CO2 they are able to sequester.

Solution:

For two decades, Klaus S. Lackner (ex Los Alamos National Laboratory), and sustainability scientist, Allen Wright collaborated in a mission to create a machine that worked like a tree but was one thousand times more efficient.


From 2000, Lackner and Wright, based at the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute and Faculty in the Earth and Environmental Engineering department at Columbia University in the City of New York worked with Mario Caceres and Christian Canonico of Influx Studio, set up the Boston Treepod Initiative.

Their mission was to develop a faux tree, bio-mimicking the form of the dragon blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari),in view of its wide branches and umbrella style of tops that can support the bigger sized solar panel that power the tree.

Treepod leaves would be made of papery plastic coated in a resin containing sodium carbonate, to pull CO2 out of the air then stores it as a bicarbonate (baking soda) on the leaf.

To remove the carbon dioxide, the leaves are rinsed in water vapour and can dry naturally in the wind, soaking up more carbon dioxide. Such leaves could be much more closely spaced and overlapped – even configured in a honeycomb formation to make them more efficient.

Lackner calculated that the treepod could remove 1 tonne of CO2 per a day. Ten million of these trees could remove 3.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to about 10% of our global annual carbon dioxide emissions. Total emissions could be removed with 100 million treepods, 1,000 times that in real trees would be required to have the same effect.

In 2014 Klaus Lackner and Allen Wright moved from Columbia to the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions in the School of Sustainable Engineering, at Arizona State University. There they also co-founded Global Research Technologies (GRT)—in Tucson, Arizona where they demonstrated the moisture swing.

In February 2020, working with ASU, Silicon Kingdom Holdings (SKH) in Dublin, Ireland agreed to build and deploy 12 clusters of treepods. Each cluster comprises 12 sorbent-filled columns and can remove one metric ton of CO2 per day. SKH will deploy the technology in a pilot farm targeting 100 metric tons of CO2 per.

The technology will then be deployed to large-scale farms of up to 120,000 MechanicalTrees capturing some 4 million tons of CO2 annually and occupying a land space of just 2 to 3 square kilometers (0.8 to 1.2 square miles) per farm. in multiple locations, each capable of removing 3.8 million metric tons annually.. The released gas is then collected, purified, processed used for other solutions as described elsewhere in 366solutions.

Discover Solution 263: Oceanic thermal energy collectors (OTECS)

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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

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Categories
Energy

260: Saltwater lamp

Problem:

The Philippines ranked third as the most disaster prone country in the whole world. And in disaster situations such as super typhoons, earthquakes, a steady supply of food, drinking water and a sustainable light source is very essential.

Solution:

After living with the natives of the Butbut tribe for days relying only on dangerous kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores, Aisa Mijeno, both a faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle University in Lipa and a member of Greenpeace Philippines, together with her brother Raphael, invented the Sustainable Alterative Lighting (SALt) lamp.


The SALt LED lamp which can be powered by saltwater through metal-air technology is an alternative environment-friendly light source suitable for off-grid in areas near the sea. It uses the science behind the galvanic cell, the basis for battery-making, changing the electrolytes to a non-toxic, saline solution, making the entire process safe and harmless.

The consumables of this lamp only need to be replaced every 6 months. The SALt lamp operates 8 hours a day every day, with proper maintenance, with an anode lifespan of 6 months. For emergencies, the user can charge their smartphone using this lamp, simply by plugging in the USB cable.

In 2017, the SALt lamp went into production It won the Good Design Award 2018 presented by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, a Japanese comprehensive design evaluation and commendation system. The Mijenos found two partners; one of them is a semi-conductor company located at Laguna Technopark; the other one is San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation.

They are the ones helping SALt with all of their packaging needs: the box it comes in, the plastic, and even the design of the package. Their short-term goal is deploying the first 45,000 units to and beyond the Philippines.

An alternative, the Aria Natural Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp from Levoite was displayed during the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What you can do: Seek out and acquire a crystal salt lamp such as SALt

Discover Solution 261: Wave Killer

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Mobility Planet Care

259: Zero emission racing yacht

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From prototypes, zero emission yachts should become the norm.

Discover Solution 260: Saltwater lamp

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Categories
Materials Energy

258: Plaxx plastic-recycled oil

Problem:

Incineration of plastic waste is not energy efficient.

Solution:

Since 2011, Adrian Griffiths of Recycling Technologies, Swindon, United Kingdom has been perfecting a machine to break down MPW (mixed plastic waste), a variety of plastic products including cling wrap and electronics, and turn them into Plaxx™, a valuable hydrocarbon product usable materials or energy-producing oil.


The RT7000, a thermal cracker, heats up the waste to 500° C, melting the debris into a vapor. It is then cooled to create one of three different materials: a fuel that can be sold to petrochemical companies, a wax-such as substance that is similar to what ship engines burn or a brown wax that can be used for shoe polish or cosmetics.

Using Plaxx® as feedstock for new polymers allows plastics circularity. In 2019 Tesco, the UK’s leading retailer began to trial RT7000 units in ten of its stores. Modular, they can be moved around.

From 2020, international energy company Total, Recycling Technologies, and global brands Nestlé and Mars joined forces to develop an “innovative” industrial chemical recycling industry in France. Recycling Technologies, with a production capacity of 200 unts per year, plans to install 1,700 units and reach 7 million tpy capacity by 2027.

In January 2020, Nestlé announced that it would cut costs in other parts of its business to buy 2 million tonnes of recycled plastic between now and 2025. This should enable the food giant to meet its goal of reducing its use of virgin plastics by a third.

Discover Solution 259: Zero emission racing yacht

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Your Home

257: Oceanix

Problem:

By 2030, approximately 60 % of the world’s population will live in cities that are exposed to grave economic, social, and environmental pressures. Further, approximately 90 % of the largest global cities are vulnerable to rising sea levels. By 2050, out of the world’s 22 megacities with a population of more than 10 million, 15 are located along the ocean’s coasts.

Solution:

In June 2019, UN-Habitat New Urban Agenda along with non-profit Oceanix unveiled designs to build a floating city at sea that would house 10,000 people, be fully autonomous and could withstand Category 5 hurricanes.


Based in Hong Kong, Oceanix is the brainchild of Marc Collins Chen, a Tahitian entrepreneur and former politician, who served as the Minister of Tourism of the Pacific nation of French Polynesia. In January 2017, this nation looking for a potential lifeline as AGW takes hold, in had become the first country to sign an agreement to deploy the floating islands off its coast. Low-lying, small islands of the Pacific are disproportionately at risk of losing land as sea level climbs by an expected 10 in. to 32 in. (26-82 cm) by the late 21st century.

Also on the team are Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in Denmark and MIT’s Center for Ocean Engineering. Oceanix City would measure 185 ac (75 ha) spread over floating platforms. The idea is that the floating hexagonal platforms would be prefabricated on land and grouped into clusters of six to create a “village” of up to 1,650 residents.

A total of six villages would then be grouped together around a central harbor. All buildings would be kept between 4 and 7 seven stories-high to ensure a low center of gravity and mitigate the effects of high winds. They would also be made from sustainable materials such as bamboo and feature large flat roofs to aid shading and offer space for solar panels. There would be a focus on farming too, both on land and, below sea level, floating reefs, seaweed, oysters, mussel, scallop and clam farming.

Residents would get around on electric vehicles. The structure itself will be moored to the bottom of the ocean and will rely entirely on the concept of so-called “ocean farming”, which means growing food under the surface of the water. For example, cells under the platforms could collect mussels, squid and other types of seafood. Aquaponics systems will use fish waste to help fertilize plants while vertical farms will generate year-round production.

Both technologies could help the city self-sufficient to food during a hurricane or other natural disaster. Either cars or vehicles with harmful emissions will be forbidden. Even garbage trucks will not be provided – trash pneumatic tubes will be installed. They will transport the waste to a sorting station where they could be identified and redirected. The city will also have a water system that extracts clean water from the air. (oceanix.org)

Currently there is a technology race to build the first green floating city for people to live sustainably on the ocean. Singapore is cooperating with Norway on ambitious floating projects. In Europe, Norway is putting the weight of its state-owned enterprise Equinor (formerly Statoil) into exploring this new space and building strategic alliances. Norway is conducting workshops on floating cities.

The Netherlands, in cooperation with the United Nations, recently announced the creation of the Global Center on Adaptation to be housed in floating offices in Rotterdam. This center will be led by several luminaries, including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, business leader Bill Gates and CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva.

Discover Solution 258: Plaxx plastic-recycled oil

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Energy

256: Natrium Reactor

Solution:

In August 2020, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates presented his detailed take on how to “address climate change”. One solution is a small yet advanced nuclear power station that will have the ability to store electricity to supplement grids increasingly supplied by the intermittent sources like solar and wind energy.

Gates’s company TerraPower of Bellevue, Washington , is collaborating with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in Wilmington, North Carolina, to build the Natrium, a 345MWe cost-competitive sodium fast reactor (SFR) combined with a molten salt energy storage system. Sodium’s chemical element symbol is Na (from Latin “natrium”).

Building on the technology used in solar thermal generation, Natrium energy storage and flexible power production will offer abundant clean energy in time to help meet climate goals. SFRs have the potential to become an attractive energy source for countries interested in managing their nuclear supply and nuclear waste.

The Natrium technology’s novel architecture simplifies previous reactor types. Non-nuclear mechanical, electrical and other equipment will be housed in separate structures, reducing complexity and cost. The design is intended to permit significant cost savings by allowing major portions of the plant to be built to industrial standards. Improvements use fewer equipment interfaces and reduce the amount of nuclear-grade concrete by 80% compared to large reactors.

Natrium reactors are designed to provide firm, flexible power that seamlessly integrates into power grids with high penetrations of renewables. For instance, its innovative thermal storage has the potential to boost the system’s output to 500MWe of power for more than five and a half hours when needed. This allows for a nuclear design that follows daily electric load changes and helps customers capitalize on peaking opportunities driven by renewable energy fluctuations.

According to TerraPower, Natrium technology will be available in the late 2020s, making it one of the first commercial advanced nuclear technologies.”

The development of the Natrium system demonstrates the benefits of modern virtual design and construction tools and has attracted the attention of numerous utilities through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Energy Northwest and Duke Energy have expressed their support for the commercialization effort, which will provide energy and energy storage to the electrical grid.

Discover Solution 257: Oceanix floating cities at sea.

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Materials Your Home

255: Eco-friendly mattress

Problem:

Most mattresses are made with synthetic fibers or foam, which don’t biodegrade. Cotton or wool stuffing can be processed with pesticides and other chemicals—some of them potentially carcinogenic.

Solution:

The eco-friendly mattress.


In September 2020, John Lewis & Partners, a brand of high-end department stores operating for almost one century throughout Great Britain, launched its first ever fully recyclable eco mattress.

Their EcoMattress is handcrafted in a carbon-neutral factory in Yorkshire using chemical-free materials, 200 recycled plastic bottles, and layers of EcoFlex fibres (a soft polyester filling made from 100 % recycled fibres).

The mattress, which can be fully recycled at the end of its life, also features a clever glue-free high density Cortec Quad pocket spring system, innovated by Harrison Spinks Springs of Leeds, UK. With a total of 750 pocket springs in the king size mattress, it aims to provide balance during the night, while also reliving pressure and helping to keep your body weight evenly distributed.

What you can do: When you next purchase a mattress, make it an Eco-mattress 

Discover Solution 256: Natrium Reactor

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Human Effort Planet Care

254: Trillion Trees

Solution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Planet Care

253: Smog-dissipating gun for Delhi pollution

Problem:

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

Solution:

Anti-smog gun


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

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

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

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

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

Discover Solution 254: Trillion Trees

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Materials Your Home

252: recyclable pantyhose

Problem:

A pair of women’s tights (pantyhose) does not resist more than six uses. The 104 million pairs of tights in France thrown away each year equal to the weight of the Eiffel Tower or 7, 300 tonnes of garbage..

Solutions:

Lætitia Paput and Aurore Jacques of the Bordeaux suburb of Blanquefort, France decided to make pantyhose in a fiber recycled from plastic waste from the textile industry which were previously buried or burned. They also created bins specifically from thrown-away tights.


They called their start-up REV, the first three letters of the French words “rêver, révolutionner et revivre” (= dream, revolutionise and recycle). Rêver because it is a childlike dream to create this brand of textile; revolutionise eco-fashion with pretty and comfortable products and recycle materials.

To finance their first pairs of tights, Paput and Jacques launched a fundraising campaign on the Ulule platform. In a few hours they had reached 440% of their goal.

In Stockholm, Sweden, Nadja Forsberg and Linn Frisinger started up “Swedish Stockings” to make a luxury range of pantyhose from recycled nylon and natural fibers, at a plant in Italy which uses sustainable practices like eco-friendly dyes, post-dyeing water treatments, and solar power.

From a fashion perspective, there are classic black opaque panty hose, racy Astrid fishnets, lace and leopard tights, and pointelle socks, among other styles. Committed to a circular fashion industry, Swedish Stockings also provide two recycling centres to which you can post your old nylons for recycling, and they will accept any brand.

Send a minimum of 3 old pairs at once, and they will send you a discount code for your next purchase.

Considering whether there is a second life for old tights, Forsberg and Frisinger teamed up with Gustaf Westman to combine recycled tights and recycled fiberglass and make them into a limited edition collection of marble-look tables durable enough to be used both indoors and outdoors.

Each table (depending on its size) contains between 80 and 350 pairs of tights that have been diverted from landfills through their recycling program.

What you can do: Buy stockings form and support REV and Swedish Stockings

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Planet Care

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

Problem:

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

Solution:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Energy

250: Offshore computer server

Problem:

Cooling is one of the biggest costs of running a data center and keeping computers from overheating, particularly on a large scale.

Solution:

Microsoft’s Project Natick involves lowering a hyperscale data center down to the cold depths of the sea and pumping cold seawater through to keep it cool.


From 2015, Phase 1 of Microsoft’s project saw a 10 ft (3 m) long prototype submerged off the coast of California for 105 days, which proved the feasibility of the concept. Phase 2 was designed to test if the idea was practical in a logistical, environmental and economic sense.

Microsoft partnered with a French marine manufacturing company called Naval Group, which designed the watertight cylindrical shell and adapted a commonly-used submarine cooling system to work with the data center. Positioned offshore from Orkney the new facility, known as the Northern Isles data center sits 117 ft (36 m) below the waves, and measures 40 ft (12 m) long. It houses 12 racks with 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes (27,600 terabytes) of storage, enough to store at least 5 million copies of Finding Nemo.

To cool them, seawater is piped through the radiators on the backs of the server racks, before being released back out into the ocean. The center is connected to the world through a fiber optic cable and gets most of its power from the nearby Orkney Islands. Interestingly, 100 % of the region’s energy already comes from renewable sources, thanks to wind turbines, solar panels and more experimental sources such as tidal turbines and wave energy converters.

The eventual goal of Project Natick is to have these underwater data centers be completely self-sustained, powered entirely through offshore wind, wave or tidal generators. In doing so, they could essentially be submerged near any coastal city where they are needed, and supply faster internet and cloud services.

This phase of Project Natick will see the team monitoring the Northern Isles data center for the next 12 months, keeping watch over its performance, power consumption, sound, humidity and temperature.

This version is designed to work continuously down there for up to five years without needing maintenance. Project Natick has been criticized because, using the ocean as a heat exchange to reduce energy used to cool data centres, could be construed as conflicting with environmental objectives,particularly as the global energy consumption of data centres is due to expand from its current 3% to about 14% by 2050.

Other companies have also built facilities in cold locations such as the Arctic Circle or beneath the fjords of Norway.

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Materials

249: Nylon from ocean and landfill waste

Problem:

Luxury-car interiors usually feature exotic hardwoods and animal-sourced leather

Solution:

The British automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is using Econyl nylon made by nylon manufacturer Aquafil in Ljubljana, Slovenia, employing depolymerisation from recycled industrial plastic, clothing offcuts, and fishing nets, to develop high-quality interiors such as floor mats and trim pieces from ocean and landfill waste.

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Materials

248: Mater-Bi bioplastic

Problem:

Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.

Solution:

Aliphatic-aromatic biodegradable polyester


One of the European pioneers of bio-plastic is Catia Bastioli, a chemist from Novara, in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy.

In the late 1980s, Bastioli and a team at the Guido Donegani Institute, Ferruzzi-Montedison’s Corporate Research Center, started up an ambitious project to develop chemicals with low environmental impact using raw materials of agricultural origin, so integrating chemistry, the environment and agriculture.

Bastioli and a team set up Fertec research center where they Tomorrow’sed an enzymatic bacteria that makes goat cheese, cellulose to make alcohol, and a fabulous anti-wrinkle material. They then investigated the potential of corn starch, wheat and potatoes. Novamont (Novara-Montedison) was created to commercialise their bio-plastic.

One of Fertec’s earliest achievements was the creation of a biodegradable watch for Walt Disney. With Fertec incorporated with Novamont in 1991, production of the aliphatic-aromatic biodegradable polyester they tradenamed Mater-Bi (Materiale-Biotech) began at a new plant in Terni. Bastioli worked as technical director, general manager and managing director at Novamont became the force behind the transformation and rise of the company.

Before long it was found that Mater-Bi presented properties and viscosity values that made it suitable, after adjusting its molecular weight, for use in numerous practical applications such as films, injection molded products, extrusion coatings, fibers, foams, thermoformed products, extruded profiles and sheets, extrusion blow molding, injection blow molding, rotomolding, and stretch blow molding.

An initial production of 4,000 tons (3630 tonnes) per year, had doubled by 1997 and in 2001 had reached 16,000 tons (14,500 tonnes) per year. Products made in Mater-Bi bags, cutlery, plates, glasses, toys, food trays, biodegradable mulch sheets are produced.

In Sardinia, the thistle is wild plant that grows in profusion and without fertilizer. Bastioli’s team at Novamont realised that they could extract an oil that proved to be an excellent pesticide, and an effective lubricant for the maintenance of agricultural machinery.

Teaming up with partners in both Sardinia such as Versalis, the Matrica refinery and also Mater-Biotech, a joint venture with Genomatica in California began production of Mater-Bi from renewable sources and also creating sustainable rural regeneration.

In 2012 the Novamont research center was expanded by acquiring a medical biotechnology research center from Sigma-tau, redirecting its activities towards industrial biotechnology.

In 2019 a report about the biodegradability of compostable bags was published by the University of Pisa in the scientific journal Ecological Indicators in which is was found that Mater-Bi does not release persistent microplastics, as it is completely biodegradable within 20-30 days, as required by the OECD guidelines.

When exposed to marine micro-organisms, the material achieves high levels of biodegradation, substantially equal to those of paper, in a test period of less than one year. Furthermore, the speed of biodegradation increases as the particle size decreases

Bastioli has been a member of important EU working groups on climate change, environment and renewable raw materials, such as the European Union Bioeconomy Panel. Prime inventor of around 80 patent families in the sector of synthetic and natural polymers and transformation processes of renewable raw materials, she was awarded “European Inventor of the Year 2007” by the European Patent Office and the European Commission for her inventions related to starch-based bioplastics between 1991 and 2001.

She has become known as the Iron Lady and the Wonder Woman of the bioplastics industry.

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Materials

247: PV paint

Problem:

Installing solar panels is an expensive, laborious process, a fact that keeps many homeowners from making the switch.

Solution:

PV (Photovoltaic) paint could be applied to any surface that will capture energy from the sun and transform it into electricity.


The most common type of PV paint uses colloidal quantum dots. These are semiconductor crystals that are already used in solar panels, as well as LEDs and computers. The University of Toronto created an iteration of solar paint wherein they sprayed these dots atom by atom onto a backing. This backing could then be rolled up, sent to the place where it is to be installed, and then applied like wallpaper.

At the University of Buffalo, in 2013, researchers announced that they had made progress using plasmonic-enhanced materials. The team noted, however, that the thin nature of paint makes absorbing as much light difficult.

Four years later a research team led by Torben Daeneke at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology demonstrated solar paint that splits water particles to harness the hydrogen. Wai-Lun Chan, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas has been working with other researchers to explore how to use organic semiconductors to produce PV solar cells. The best method to commercialise the right formulae for PV paint has still to be found.

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Human Effort

246: Peppermint tea for fart reduction

Problem:

Collectively the world human population of almost 8 billion releases about 73 metric tons of methane and 1000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by farting just 14 times a day. This is equivalent to roughly 1,000 people flying from New York to Los Angeles, daily.

Solution:

Peppermint tea (Mentha piperita), is a most pleasant solution for reducing flatulence. In 2014, world production of peppermint was 92,296 tonnes, 92% of which is produced by Morocco renowned for its traditional tea drinking ceremony using organically grown leaves.


There are other solutions. Eat more slowly and mindfully. Cut back on gas-producing foods and gaseous drinks, indulging in a lower fibre diet. Eat less meat so reducing the requirement for methane-producing cattle. Try drinking a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal to help your stomach digest better.

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. Once you take activated charcoal (via liquid or pill) in moderation, it attaches to fluid in your gut, potentially reducing gas and bloating and creating firmer stools.

What you can do: Use the above solutions to reduce your own “breaking wind.”

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Materials Your Home

245: Sustainable tooth cleaners

Problem:

All-plastic polyethylene toothpaste tubes were introduced in the 1990s. One billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills every year harsh chemical residues Every year, more than 50 Empire State Buildings worth of toothpaste tubes end up in landfills or oceans.

Solution:

Tube-free toothpaste


Determined to replace toothpaste tubes with tablets, in 2016, Lindsay McCormick, a TV producer in Hollywood, California, bought a new TDP 0 tablet machine made in Texas and having learned how to use it, began experimenting in her Los Angeles apartment with a range of different ingredients.

She talked to every dentist and dental hygienist who would give her the time of day and even took open source online chemistry classes to develop the right formula, free from harsh chemicals, dyes, artificial flavors, and unnecessary fillers.

The result was a product she called Bite Toothpaste Bits, a mint or mint charcoal flavored pill which once bitten becomes foamy like toothpaste, quantities of which can be contained in a refillable glass bottle.

Before long Lindsay started getting orders from people who shared her passion for sustainability.

So she bought a TDP 5 machine from the same company in Texas for US$2,599 that could make five thousand pills in an hour. A “Women’s Health” video that she had shot on her iPhone started going viral. Soon after, Lindsay ended up having to quit her job and has been working full time on Bite ever since.

After being featured in media outlets such Cosmopolitan and Business Insider, Bite operates out of a fully FDA-approved manufacturing facility to keep up with demand. Since August 2018, Bite has sold more than 12 million tablets.

Early in 2020, kid-friendly flavored Bits became available with their 4-month subscription. At the same time, in response to the hand sanitizer shortage due to COVID-19, Bite found the World Health Organization’s (WHO) formula and made it, using their repurposed and sanitized glass Bite bottles, then donating the first batch to those most in need in the Los Angeles area. (bitetoothepastebits.com)

Lindsay McCormick is not alone. In 2018, Kalleonne Laboratoire des Sources in Souspierre in the Drôme region of France, launched Ascentical, toothpaste sourced from mountain plants in a recyclable metal tin. It sells in BioCoop stores across France.

Toothpaste can be applied by fingers, but usually by a brush. John and Heather McDougall grew up in a small town in North Dakota. With a dad as a dentist, John’s path to design school, and Heather’s to law, were far from the family business. During school, however, they decided to use their talents to create products with environmental and social value, and as fate would have it, they could not resist starting with a toothbrush.

The result was the Bogobrush made from sculpted organic wild bamboo with bristles made from 62% castor bean oil and 38% nylon, and packaged in a cardboard box. Another firm, Radius, makes funky-looking toothbrushes called Source from cellulose and removable heads with vegetable-based nylon bristles.

What you can do: Buy and use these products.

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Planet Care Human Effort

244: Ocean Clean-up machine

Problem:

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

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Planet Care

243: SilverLining

Problem:

Global warming is accelerating towards the point of no return.

Solution:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Energy

242: Roadside wind turbine

Problem:

More than 2.5 billion cars, most of which while using motorways generate unharnessed wind turbulence.

Solution:

Roadside wind turbine


Pakistani engineer Sanwal Muneer was standing on the side of a Malaysian racetrack four years ago was inspired as to how the breeze from the racecars might generate energy.

The roadside wind turbine Muneer created stood 8ft (2m50) tall and was made of recyclable carbon fibre. The turbine weighed just 20lb. (9 kg), which makes it easy to transport and install. The fully-charged battery can hold a kilowatt of electricity, which is enough power to run two lamps and a fan for around 40 hours. The idea is that this turbine could supply electricity for rural communities in developing countries, or could be used to power traffic lights or road signs in urban areas.

Winning the UN Clean Energy Award in 2014, then funding from the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE programme, Muneer teamed up with Asad Liaquat, a friend since university days in Islamabad, Pakistan, when they were both studying electrical engineering, to found Capture Mobility to trial and commercialise his solution. Dundee, on the east coast of Scotland was the first local authority to allow Muneer’s company, to test the turbine beside its roads. Captive Mobility exhibited at at Ecoville during the 2018 Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Even more innovative is the Alpha 311 roadside wind turbine, developed by John Sanderson and Barry Thompson of Whitstable, Kent, England. Instead of its own pole, this can be retrofitted onto any lighting column or pole lining the central reservation of motorways.

While the first prototypes were made from drinks bottles in a shed in Whitstable, Tom the 2m tall Alpha 311 Mk.X was by from carbon fibre and recycled PET Trials showed it able to generate the same amount of energy as 21m² of solar panels.

The business plan: The turbines are not sold, but leased – but pay their way from the electrical energy gained by the local council – the electrical energy used can light the motorways making huge financial savings. Alpha 311 has already received requests for projects in India and New York.

Discover Solution 243: Silverlining

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Planet Care

241: Marine Permaculture Arrays

Problem:

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

Solution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Planet Care

240: Plogging

Problem:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carbon Capture

239: Volcanic ash for carbon capture

Problem:

Most volcanoes lie close to the oceans, and every year millions of tonnes of volcanic ash falls into them and settles to the seafloor.  Once there, it increases carbon storage in marine sediments and reduces atmospheric CO2 levels. But it remains in near the volcano

Solution:

A team from the University’ of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science has modelled the impact of spreading volcanic ash from a ship to an area of ocean floor to help amplify natural processes which lock away CO2 in the seabed.

They found the technique has the potential to be cheaper, technologically simpler and less invasive than other techniques to remove harmful gases.

The scientists modelled the effect of distributing volcanic ash from a ship to an area of ocean. The results suggest that this method could sequester as much as 2300 tonnes of CO2 per 50,000 tonnes of ash delivered for a cost of $50 per tonne of CO2 sequestered – much cheaper than most other GGR methods.

In addition, the approach is simply an augmentation of a naturally occurring process, it does not involve expensive technology and it does not require repurposing valuable agricultural land.

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Energy

238: Thermosyphoning

Problem:

Is it possible to heat without using electricity from the grid?

Solution:

Thermosyphoning is a high efficiency/low maintenance method of passive heat exchange, based on natural convection, which circulates a fluid without the necessity of a mechanical pump.


It is used for circulation of liquids and volatile gases in heating and cooling applications such as heat pumps, water heaters, boilers and furnaces. Thermosyphoning also occurs across air temperature gradients such as those utilized in a wood fire chimney or solar chimney.

In thermoelectric refrigerators, the cooling systems that work on the Peltier effect, creating heat flux between the junctions of two types of materials, have a much smaller coefficient of performance as compared to the conventional compressor-style refrigerators, especially when the cooling capacity is large.

Nevertheless, owing to the small size of cooling units, their silent nature, the absence of any moving parts in them or any gases or liquids, and their long life, thermoelectric refrigerators are used in a vast set of applications.

In 1983 Robert Draper of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation obtained a patent for “Thermosyphon coil arrangement for heat pump outdoor unit”. In 2012, Richard Boyle and a team at Naked Energy in Guildford, England used thermosyphoning to develop a hybrid solar panel they called Virtu, capable of generating both electricity and hot water simultaneously.

Reviewing Virtu, the Imperial College London found that the panels they tested can produce up to 46 % more energy than the typical PV panel when the cells are heated to 65ºC. In 2015, Naked Energy teamed up with Jabil in the US to scale up production of Virtu.

Thermosyphon installation accounted for over 55% of global solar water heater market share in 2018. The product finds wide application in residential and small commercial buildings on account of ease of installation, simple design and cost effectiveness features.

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Your Home

237: WholeGarment

Solution:

WholeGarment


In 1962 Masahire Seima built the prototype of a fully automatic seamless glove knitting machine but it was considered to be difficult to put into practical use and incurred large debt.

Thirty years later, in 1995, his company Shima Seiki presented the commercial version of a textile machine that could produce an entire garment without seams, using only the amount of yarn required to knit that item, thus reducing labor and material loss associated with cutting and sewing processes, saving substantially on waste.

They called it WholeGarment.

It was unveiled at the unveiled at the International Textile Machinery (ITMA) exhibition, the machine was described by SWG (Sächsische Walzengravur) as “The Magic of the Orient”, able to knit a single sweater from yarn in only 30 minutes.

During the next twenty years, at the Innovation Factory, which was set up in 2016 as a means of establishing a new production system for the Japan-based fashion retailer to utilize Shima’s latest knit production technologies, the machine was improved to give greater productivity and efficiency, flexibility, reliability, and expanded patterning capability as well as product range.

One innovation was the Slide Needle, (whereby a slider mechanism replaces the conventional latch, expanding possibilities in knit and transfer, with increased number of knitting techniques.

In 2002, a no-plate ink jet printing machine “SIP-100F” was developed, and a “Total Fashion System” based on “SDS-ONE” strengthened the cooperation between “SIP” and “P-CAM,” contributing to a revitalization of the industry, helping to optimise inventory levels and reduce consumption. In 2017 Uniqlo teamed up with WholeGarment to launch a collection which featured items to redefine quality knitwear at affordable prices.

As part of factory greening, Shima Seiki has a large-scale solar power generation system at each factory and are promoting the reduction of energy consumption. They have also planted approximately 12,000 trees, outside their factories making approximately 30% of the site “green space,” and contributing to CO₂ reduction.

Some major customers are Max Mara (a fashion designer brand) and Paola Martignoni (an Italian knitwear manufacturer).

In the financial year to March 31 2019, Shima Seiki Ltd sold 1,521 machines worldwide. Liu Jingyuan, an analyst at Goldman Sachs who follows sales of WholeGarment in Asia, forecasts that annual sales will be roughly double that in the financial year ending March 2021. The main bottleneck, argues Mr Liu, will be parts shortages rather than final demand.

In September 2019, Shima Seiki was selected by the Cabinet Office public relations office of the government of Japan as one of several innovative companies effectively undertaking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations as a global agenda.

What you can do: Buy and wear a WholeGarment.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 238: Thermosyphoning: how to heat without using electricity from the Grid!

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