Sure, there’s a lot of potential solutions to make our future more sustainable. Renewable energy, a less intensive food system, electric planes. But, amidst the more clear ways forward, there’s some jazzier, slightly more off-the-wall ideas bubbling up.
From seaweed packaging to scarves crafted from spider silk, these are so out there - they could just work.
Paint with pollution
Based in India and Singapore, tech company Graviky Labs have created a truly revolutionary way to transform pollution: by turning it into ink. AIR-INK, as the substance has been dubbed, is the result of captured pollutants, which are harvested and stored via a unit named KAALINK, which is currently pending patent. This filters the pollution, including the fine black particles of carbon soot. The latter is then extracted, with any heavy metals being removed. The first AIR-INK markers are set for sale at the beginning of August 2018.
You may love the nori wrapping that encases your lunch time maki rolls. But did you also know that seaweed can also be used to create 100% biodegradable packaging? The team at the London-based sustainable packaging start-up Skipping Rocks Labs have created an edible and eco-friendly alternative to the typical plastic water bottle: Ooho, a water-filled bubble that you can eat. The inventors reckon that the process uses five times less CO₂ and nine times than energy versus plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Cities that run on car batteries
After a move to the countryside outside of Dublin, Damien Maguire grew frustrated with power outages, reports Bloomberg News. So, he decided to make more of his electric car, by creating a wiring system which allowed him to use its power for his home, while the vehicle is parked in his garage. Apparently, this is something that could be explored en masse. ‘Vehicle-to-grid’ would entail millions of EV owners charging their auto up with solar power, to store and release into the grid - and could potentially be explored by utilities companies. Watch this space.
Ukrainian Inna Braverman was born two weeks before the 1986 nuclear accident, the Chernobyl disaster. “I actually had a respiratory arrest as a baby from the polluted air,” Inna told HuffPost UK. Luckily, her mother and nurse gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation - but the incident left an indelible mark that has seen her dedicate her life to cleaner energy.
“It’s definitely become my passion to promote alternative, clean and risk-free ways for generating electricity,” Inna said. She founded Eco Wave Power alongside professional partner David Leb, which creates clean electricity from waves. “We came up with a unique concept of using specially designed floater shapes for optimal energy absorption, and connecting these to existent breakwaters, piers and other types of ocean structures,” Inna explained. The aim? For renewable wave energy to grow at the same rate as solar and wind. “We cannot ignore wave energy. Two thirds of the world’s population are currently living on the coastlines, and with this type of population distribution the need for wave energy is undeniable.”
Yup, you read correctly. ‘Hospitals’ for the fuzzy pollinators could be developed. The idea has been speculatively proposed by Indonesian architecture firm Shau Design, and would aim to help bees to stay healthy in the ever-changing urban environment. With ideas like releasing probiotics and essential nutrients to allow visiting bees to digest farming pesticides, if this clever invention was realised, it could help us to deal with the issue of rapidly declining bee populations.
Beyond the ocean
If you don’t follow digital ocean protection platform Parley For The Oceans, you’re missing out on an ever evolving project. Founded by German-born New Yorker Cyrill Gutsch, it aims to tackle our ocean plastic problems via one corporation and invention at time, by collaborating with businesses to create sustainable solutions. Think recently launched American Express credit cards made from up-cycled ocean plastic, T-shirts made from methane gas and scarves crafted from spider silk. These guys are one step ahead with the ideas of the future.