Collage of images including houses, jars and icebergs.

Green Tech Briefing: 6th November

Nov 6, 2017 - 2min read

Tonik MD Chris Russell has rummaged through last week’s news and hand-selected the most vital sustainable tech stories of the moment:

Birmingham’s zero waste supermarket

In the face of increasing awareness of plastic pollution, in 2018 Birmingham will become home to a new zero-waste supermarket, The Clean Kilo. The rise of plastic-packaged convenience foods has taken a toll on the environment, with large amounts of plastic waste causing harm to aquatic creatures of all sizes. Recent counter efforts like the 5p bag charge are pushing back against this across the country, and Birmingham’s new zero-waste addition looks set to provide a more sustainable way to shop by having customers bring in their own reusable containers to fill up. 

A laser hotter than the sun: the Holy Grail of clean energy?

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at California houses the world’s largest laser – the size of three American football pitches to be exact. Scientists built this massive laser to recreate the extreme conditions within the sun’s core, in order to harness the power of nuclear fusion. The same process that stars use to create ‘clean’ energy will someday hopefully be employed to provide renewable electricity for the earth. 

The world’s smartest building 

An office block in Amsterdam, designed by Ron Bakker, boasts the double honour of being the world’s smartest and most sustainable building.  Bakker designed Deloitte’s Amsterdam HQ (a.k.a. The Edge) to use the earth as a battery, allowing the building to store heat in the summer and use it in the winter. The structure is also fitted with over 30,000 sensors which control everything from lighting to the flow of people throughout the offices within.

Father and son travel to South Pole, powered solely by renewable energy

Robert and Barney Swan will travel an epic 600-mile, 60-day trek on foot to the South Pole powered solely by renewable energy sources in a bid to raise awareness about climate change. Their eco-friendly mission is a world first, and the duo are being supported by the likes of NASA which is providing cutting edge solar-powered ice melters, Shell-sponsored advanced biofuels, and extreme weather technical clothing by Patagonia.

Could edible goo grown from berries be the key to sustainable dining?

Finnish researcher Lauri Reuter, has designed a new kind of food production using the concept of a ‘bioreactor’ where we just grow the nutritious cells, not the whole plant or animal. The small machine would operate similarly to a pod-style coffee maker whereby you insert a capsule containing a small amount of plant cells, and the nutrients they need to grow and multiply. In the face of increasingly challenging environmental factors, growing edible cell cultures in a machine could be a valuable way to produce ‘efficient’ food.