Feb 5, 2018 - 2min read
In the first briefing of 2018, Tonik MD Chris Russell shares the stories that are making him feeling excited for the year ahead...
Plastic from the sea to be recycled into kayaks
A new scheme in Devon and Cornwall is salvaging bits of plastic found on beaches or tangled in fishing nets to be recycled and made into sea kayaks. The lightweight plastic will be melted down before being reformed, and the kayaks will then be used to clean up beaches, making this a complete chain of sustainability.
Eco houses in Costa Rica made out of shipping containers
In Santa Ana – west of San José – Re Arquitectura have created environmentally-friendly houses in shipping containers. Costa Rica is making huge strides in renewable energy, with around 98.1% of their electricity coming from green sources in 2017. The Franceschi container houses are ‘cargotecture’ apartments that rely on passive climate control, solar water heaters and recycled materials.
Robot swans monitor quality of drinking water in Singapore
AI isn’t just for humans… Researchers from the National University of Singapore have designed robot swans who can swim across the water with the aid of underbody propellers. The swans are fitted with sensors to monitor the quality of freshwater lakes and reservoirs while blending in with the natural environment. Swans, or sustainable spies in disguise?
Plane flies from LA to Melbourne… powered by mustard
A Qantas plane has become the world’s first biofuel flight to make the 15 hour (8,000 mile) trip from America to Australia. The blended fuel is 10% derived from brassica carinata: an industrial type of mustard seed grown by farmers between regular crop cycles. This reduces emissions by 80% over the fuel’s life cycle compared to jet fuel.
MIT turn plants into functional lighting
A bright idea from MIT engineers has resulted in a breakthrough for biotechnology. Engineers have embedded the enzyme that makes fireflies glow within the leaves of a watercress plant. The leaves then light up, creating a beautiful ambient light. This innovation could result in house plants being used as indoor lighting, or trees masquerading as lampposts in the future – all while reducing our electricity consumption.