A pair of trainers.

Green Tech Briefing: 12th September

Sep 12, 2018 - 2min read

From trainers made of ocean plastic to rubbish trucks powered by household waste, Tonik’s MD, Chris Russell, picks his favourite green tech stories from the past few weeks.

Facebook goes green

The social media behemoth has promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and power their worldwide operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. And if their previous goals are anything to go by, Facebook will have no problems achieving this - in 2015 they set themselves the target of supporting 50% of their operations with renewable energy by 2018. They did this a year early by reaching 51% clean and renewable energy in 2017.

The portable Wind Turbines of Change Are Coming

We love wind energy - it’s clean, free and readily available here in blowy Blighty! However, it does rely on fairly large areas of land or sea, which can be a problem. Not anymore! Two students from Lancaster University have invented 25cm urban wind turbines which can be attached to the side of your building and help generate renewable energy for your area. And even better, the structure of the O-Wind’s vents allows it to spin whenever it comes in contact with wind, no matter which direction the wind is blowing (whereas traditional wind farms can only capture horizontal wind).

This design won the 2018 UK James Dyson Award and the inventors have received £2,000 to help them start the development process. The turbines will be made from recycled materials, which not only makes them doubly green, but it also makes them affordable for the average person.

Renewable Rubbish to power our dustbin lorries

With the UK’s goal to be recycling 50% of household rubbish by 2020, that leaves the question of what can be done with the non-recyclable household waste. Well according to waste management company Veolia, a lot. The waste management firm is looking at retrofitting two of their end-of-life refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) with batteries to convert them from diesel to electric.

Veolia will then start utilising non-recyclable household waste by generating energy from incinerated rubbish and using that energy to power the vehicles. This initiative will start in Sheffield, but two of Veolia’s London-based vehicles will also undergo the same process before 2020. If the trial is a success, your rubbish could be next.  

Adidas Trash Talk

How many plastic bottles does it take to make a shoe? 11, as it turns out. Earlier this year, footwear giant Adidas revealed that they sold over one million pairs of shoes that are made from ocean plastic. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them, but these shoes have been designed using a yarn that converts ocean plastic into a knittable material. One million may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but this initiative is part of a larger sustainable footwear trend which is encouraging manufacturers to rethink what shoes can be made of. Trash never looked so good.

Blue pollution = green energy

We all agree that industrial waste pollution is a terrible thing; but what if somehow, some good could come out of it? Scientists in the US believe that this is exactly what they have discovered. They have found that a major component of waste from the textile industry has electrical properties - a blue dye called methylene blue, which could make it ideal for being used as a battery. Scientists are currently looking at ways to repurpose the contaminated water and use it as a green energy storage.