Mar 5, 2018 - 2min read
Our MD, Chris Russell, picks his favourite green tech stories from the past few weeks. Read on to find out about biohybrid solar cells, a renewable rebirth for Chernobyl and the best time to charge your EV car.
Ethical fashion with Levi's Eureka Lab
Levi’s are leading the charge and bringing ethical fashion to the mainstream. We were shocked to learn that 80-100 billion never-worn clothes end up in landfills every year. Bart Sights, head of Levi’s Eureka Lab, is confronting this issue with an ambitious plan. The company is pioneering a new laser technology that uses infrared light to create the faded finishes and tears that make a pair of jeans quintessentially Levi’s in just 90 seconds. The big ambition is to reverse the supply chain; making the labour process so efficient that retailers can ‘make what they sell’ not ‘sell what they make’, and cut down on senseless waste in the fashion industry.
Save the world in your sleep
Driving an EV is great for the planet, but did you know that by waiting to charge by just a few hours, you can maximise your environmental benefit? Most people charge their cars during the ‘evening peak’ – just after you get home from work (roughly) – but by doing so they place strain on the system, and generation may need to rely on building more capacity in the form of fossil fuel-powered plants. Power usage is at its lowest in the middle of the night, so charge your car while you’re asleep and the planet will thank you. There’s even the potential that drivers could even play the system, by filling up when power is at its cheapest and selling back to the grid when plugged in during peak hours.
Working towards 100% clean energy
101 cities worldwide sourced over 70% of electricity from renewable sources in 2017 - that figure has doubled since 2015. This represents a huge global shift towards renewable energy, and ambition to go even further. In Britain alone, 84 cities and towns have signed up to the UK100 local government network’s target of 100% clean energy by 2050. With news like this, a global target towards 100% clean energy is looking more and more likely…
Solar cells full of vitamins
This isn’t just a delicious smoothie recipe – biohybrid solar cells are the future for cost-effective renewable energy. By adding natural dye extracted from blackberries to the proteins in spinach leaves they produce photovoltage. Don’t eat your greens – turn them into sources of renewable energy! (And then eat them…)
The site of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl is set to become a solar farm. A Ukranian-German project named Solar Chernobyl has secured a space next to one of the reactors. The project has cost a million euros to build (so far) but is expected to pay itself off within 7 years. The nuclear reactor left behind still-intact electrical transformer substations, capable of handling huge power outputs so the creation of a natural energy plant at the site makes sense. The organisers have a huge challenge – not just the cost of irradiation, but also battling the bitter cold in the Ukraine, 80 miles north of Kiev – but this innovation could transform a place defined by tragedy into one of hope for a better, more sustainable, world.