Find out how technology is being used to help restore our planet
To counter the effects of climate change takes a great deal of tenacity, and thinking outside the proverbial box. But, fortunately, there are some astounding people and companies demonstrating the creativity, brilliance, and ingenuity required to face this challenge.
Here, we’re marvelling at five eco innovations, looking to reduce or reverse human beings’ impact on the world around us. From stepping up our survival instincts to agricultural advances, feel inspired and get curious about what other possibilities might be on the horizon for green technology…
Call it awe-inspiring, call it a ‘breath of fresh air’... AirCarbon is an award-winning invention, created by Newlight Technologies, that is a carbon-negative, renewable form of ‘plastic’. Not only does it not produce the typical emissions and waste that come with plastic production, but it actually cleans the air instead!
With an estimated 400 million tons of plastic waste produced annually around the world, the clever creation combats this by combining air with methane-based carbon. The end result is completely natural, meaning it can be broken down by microorganisms to provide nutrients, plus it’s been FDA-approved so it is safe to come into contact with food – offering a host of possibilities for replacing traditional plastic packaging and containers.
3D printing in construction
One of the largest polluting sectors worldwide is construction – with research by the US Green Building Council claiming the industry is responsible for 40% of worldwide energy usage, and another report suggesting it’s accountable for up to 50% of climate change.
Clearly, something needs to change. And offering the cornerstone to build a more environmentally friendly future is the possibilities of 3D printing. With several companies already exploring the potential of ‘additive manufacturing’, as it’s also known, the real advantage is the ability to use local materials in the printing, such as soil, clay, sand, and plant fibres, drastically cutting down the need to transport materials (potentially by 95%), and avoiding the use of cement. Having the printer on site also means constructors only need to print the exact materials required, encouraging less waste.
Partnering positivity for the environment, with doing good for people too, charity Habitat for Humanity utilised this technology to build a 3D printed home in Virginia in 2021, to house low-income families who volunteer with them. Incredibly, the two-bed bungalow was printed in just 12 hours, demonstrating the ability to produce eco-friendly, affordable homes in a much more time-effective manner.
With the ever-increasing global population, as well as climate change impacting the success of a harvest, demand on agriculture is increasing in turn. But farmers are taking things to the next level, literally, by stacking crops in pillars, enabling them to radically increase their yield for the same square footage – potentially up to 10 times the normal amount for the same space.
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