Category: Solutions

The Ocean Cleanup: getting rid of the Pacific garbage patch

Close-up of the Ocean Cleanup floating barrier (photo: The Ocean Cleanup)

Does the name Boyan Slat ring a bell? There is a good chance it does. The now 22-years old engineer from the Netherlands decided to tackle the huge plastic waste problem in our oceans, after encountering more bags than fish in a scuba diving trip in Greece when he was 16. He came up with an invention to clean up the ocean’s garbage patches, an idea that soon would capture the attention of many after a video of his TedX talk in 2012 went viral. What the young inventor proposed is, by all means, ambitious – and in the eye of some oceanographers straight away insane. Nonetheless, in 2013 Boyan Slat founded a company to realise his idea: the Ocean Cleanup was born. After he revealed some major design changes and an updated timeline during an announcement event Delft, the Netherlands, earlier this month, it’s time to have a closer look at how this young fella thinks he will make it happen.

Boyan Slat at the announcement event on May 11th, in Delft (photo: Pierre AUGIER for The Ocean Cleanup)

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Tesla’s solar roof: too good to be true?

(photo: Tesla)

Elon Musk has been in the spotlight a number of times on my blog now, and once again he succeeded in creating a good portion of buzz in the cleantech world which I cannot let go unnoticed. Yesterday the Silicon Valley entrepreneur announced that Tesla is now taking online orders worldwide for their latest disruptive technology: the solar roof. Seen by Elon as the third leg of the stool of a sustainable energy future, next to Tesla’s Powerwall and electric car, first installations in the US follow later this year, while worldwide rollout begins in 2018.

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CloudFisher turns fog into drinking water

photo: Aqualonis

Last Wednesday the 22nd of March, the UN celebrated the World Water day. Many take drinking water for granted, but there are still 1.8 billion people in the world who use a source of drinking water that puts them at risk of getting deadly sick. In the driest and poorest regions of the world, women and girls walk for hours in the blistering heat to collect water for their families –withholding them from studying or working. Addressing the drinking water crisis of those regions can solve many problems at once.

photo: Aqualonis

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Turning waste milk into loo paper

Carezza di latte, caress of milk. It sounds like a new version of delicious Italian coffee to me, but make no mistake. It is the Italian toilet paper brand Tenderly’s latest premium product. Silky soft, it holds the promise of a supreme caress even for the most sensitive skin. And all of that with the help of waste milk. Sounds amazing, don’t you think?

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10 sustainable gift ideas [infographic]

Holiday season is here! For many people, it’s the most special period of the year: celebrating together with family and friends, is there something better than that? And let’s admit it: we are looking forward to the presents as well. Receiving one is fun and exciting, but finding it for a someone who is dear to you can be a daunting task. Leave the junk and go for practical and fun. And why not find something that has a minimal footprint and helps the person you want to surprise to live more sustainable?

If you are looking for a tangible gift, find some inspiration in the below. Links for all the ideas are included below the infographic. But don’t forget that all stuff leaves a footprint. Giving an experience, like a ticket for a concert or visit, can end up being both better for the planet and highly appreciated ;) Happy holidays!

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Turning CO2 into ethanol: is this the new hydrogen?

Last week my facebook feed nearly overflew with shares of an amazing discovery: a group of US scientists of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tenessee had accidently stumbled upon a catalyst that turns CO2 into ethanol. For those of you unfamiliar with catalysts, they are materials or substances that speed up or slow down the rate of a chemical reaction by providing a ‘reactive site’. The catalyst itself is not altered during the process (don’t run away, the article won’t get more complicated than this ;) ).

Well well, I thought. It’s about the fourth or fifth time this year I read about a new technique to suck CO2 out of the air. This one sparked my interest more than previous discoveries, though. (more…)

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