Mar 19, 2018 - 2min read
Our MD Chris Russell is back again to report on the stories that are inspiring him for the week ahead at Tonik HQ in this week’s Green Tech Briefing. Read on for car tyres that breathe, the social value of solar and clothes made from pineapples...
A living, breathing car tyre
Tyre manufacturer Goodyear has designed a recycled rubber tyre that houses living moss. This isn’t just a botanist’s dream, the moss drinks moisture from the road and converts it into oxygen via photosynthesis. This could help the people living in cities who breathe unclean and unsafe air every day. We foresee huge growth for the world’s population living in cities in years to come, so a more sustainable transport system is critical. The tyre is also immune to punctures, given that it is a solid, 3D-printed structure – that’s a win-win if you ask me.
Fast fashion, long-term solution
I’m no fashionista but I am going to predict one trend: sustainable fashion. These are the winners of Global Change Award 2018, a competition sponsored by the Swedish fashion house H&M. Fast-fashion often involves unethical production, and tonnes of waste headed straight to landfills. These designers are pioneering recycled materials, including textiles made of pineapples, fungi outfitters and algae apparel. Sounds wacky? So do most styles and crazes – until everyone’s wearing them!
Right as rain
News to the ears of Brits everywhere: a solar panel that isn’t just a fair-weather friend! Scientists at Soochow University in China have invented a device that can generate electricity from raindrops. Two transparent polymer layers lie on top of a solar PV cell and as rain hits the cell and trickles away friction generates electrical charge.
Solar power to empower
At Tonik we are all about delivering value using renewable energy. Our whole mission is to halve your energy bills. But renewable energy also has fantastic humanitarian value. We are feeling inspired by this story about how solar power helps families who have no access to the grid, and it is estimated that more than a billion people worldwide do not. Renewable energy stored in batteries allows children to finish their homework after dark and businesses to stay open longer without relying on kerosene. That’s a pretty noble achievement.
Share the solar, spread the benefit
Luxembourg is serious about reaching the European Parliament’s target of 100% renewable energy by 2050. MEP Claude Turmes is trialling a system in which, if your neighbour doesn’t get good sunlight or rents their home and is not entitled to install solar panels, the solar electricity from your panels is shared with them. While the rollout of solar panels moves incrementally, due to start-up costs and the high proportion of renters, this seems to be a mutually beneficial solution in the meantime. After all, a problem shared…