SnippETS for 1 November 2018
Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter. This week we take a look at how a personal commitment to clean up a beach led to much bigger things, recycling plastic the right way and lab produced meat that is actually meat! Also we look at how robots are going to revolutionise farming and that there is no such thing as waste. We also have a look at zinc air batteries, sometimes simple is good and we finish up with some photos, a picture can be worth a thousand words.
In 2007 a guy on the Isle of Man thought, ‘I’m going to clean up this beach’. It ended up taking 6 weekends of hard work. Now regular clean ups occur and people are committed 100% to ensuring coastlines stay clean (Island Pride). The island’s determination to protect the coastal environment from the multiple threats of plastic pollution, climate change and over-fishing has earned it the status of a Unesco biosphere region, and, more importantly, sea life has returned in abundance. Read more.....
Recycling is currently a problem for NZ, now that sending it all to China is not an option and what is currently being done to recycle and reduce plastics? We read here of some great NZ initiatives already underway, and a study by SBN with businesses is looking at what is and can be done about our mountains of plastic.
In the Netherlands, one recycling plant is doing what many in the industry have labelled “impossible”, by recycling household packaging and making a financial success of it. They do this by only recycling one type of plastic and sending other types to other plants around Europe. This approach works because of the scale involved. This article discusses the processes, and what more is needed to make it even more viable.
How do chicken nuggets, which had their origins in the cells of a chicken feather, sound? Tasty by the sound of it. A key difference with this lab produced meat is that it is created directly from the chicken. Definitely not to be confused with the vegetarian plant-based burgers and other meat-substitute products which are gaining popularity in supermarkets. A game changer that could assist feeding the world!
Tiny robotic farm machines could soon take care of every stage of the growing process: mapping the land, planting seeds, caring for the crop, forensically weeding, then harvesting. Having small robotic machines carrying out these processes has some major benefits! No more heavy equipment bogged down in winter (all year growing cycles?). Not having to plough (better soil health) and less use of fertilisers. Robots are already gainfully employed in America and France. Read more.....
Most are familiar with the term to $h*% a brick, but who knew you could actually pee a brick? Yes indeed, a group of students in Cape Town have developed a technology that makes actual bricks from urine, sand and bacteria. The bricks are formed by chemical activity at room temperature, making this a much more carbon and energy efficient process than traditional brick making.
There is a new kid on the block in the energy storage arena, and it could be a game changer. While Zinc-Air batteries are not exactly new technology, they have made leaps and bounds and now are ready to compete with the big players. NantEnergy says that they can produce their batteries at less than $100 kWh and that they will last longer than Lithium technologies. This could indeed revolutionize renewable energy storage!
We finish this week’s Snippets with a collection of powerful images that highlight inspiring ways to fight climate change and plastic pollution. The winning entries from this global photo competition include seaweed harvesting, carbon capture technology, and a hut made of plastic bottles. As the old adage goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.
This week in Innovation, batteries that don't ever need replacing, and help eliminate nuclear waste!
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