Author: Chris Findlay

I'm a journalist, editor, and translator based in Zurich, Switzerland. I write about technology and future timelines at Supertrends.com, where I also help expand the community as Expert Relationship Manager.
3D-printed wood

Grown to Measure: Can 3D-Printed Wood Prevent Deforestation?

A method for growing wood-like materials with specific properties and shapes could pave the way towards 3D-printed wood and offer an alternative to industrial forestry, which has severe effects on the global climate and environment and eliminates about 10 million hectares of forest every year. The ability to make “customizable timber” in a laboratory setting would reduce waste in manufacturing and allow forests to remain untouched as a measure to mitigate climate change. Scientists at MIT have demonstrated how “wood-like plant material” can be grown in a lab from cell cultures in a way that...

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direct air capture carbon emissions

New Carbon Sorbent Enables Direct Air Capture at Record Efficiency Rate

A recent scientific breakthrough in capturing atmospheric CO2 promises to remove GHG faster, more efficiently, and with less energy consumption than conventional methods by using isophorone diamine as a sorbent. Market observers believe the new method could speed up the commercial viability of DAC solutions as a key element of climate change mitigation. Direct air capture of carbon emissions is one of several promising approaches for mitigating climate change. Atmospheric CO2 can be locked in through long-term storage solutions or used to produce carbon-neutral fuels for sectors that are...

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electric vehicles sustainable net-zero

Electric Vehicles: A Roadmap for Sustainable Mobility

What will it take to facilitate a global transition to sustainable transport of goods and people? New studies by the International Energy Agency and by Bloomberg New Energy Finance show how this goal can be achieved in a way that is both ecologically and economically viable. A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds that the global market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing steeply, driven by strong uptake of battery-powered cars in China and elsewhere, but the 2050 milestone of net-zero carbon emissions is still elusive. Sales of EVs must be complemented by other efforts...

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Planning for Disruption: The Hydrogen Revolution and the War in Ukraine

Predictability is good for business, and reliability is the basis for stable relations – between individuals, trading partners, or states. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which took experts by surprise and has overturned long-held beliefs regarding security policy and international relations, has had significant knock-on effects beyond the military sphere. A position paper by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) examines the implications for the future of the hydrogen economy in Germany and Europe. In an interview with Supertrends, experts Martin Wietschel and Florian...

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energy storage

Compressed Air Systems: Efficient Renewable Energy Storage

As energy systems become increasingly distributed, localized, and reliant on intermittent clean sources, storage options are gaining importance for ensuring stable supply and stable grids. One technology that remains under-utilized is Compressed Air Energy Storage. Israeli company Augwind has developed a concept that is both simple and sophisticated. For grid operators, the rise of renewable energy sources over the past two decades has not been an unmitigated success story. The old model of energy generation in large, centralized power stations is increasingly shifting toward decentralized...

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Cultured meat in a petri dish

Is Cultured Meat Commercially Viable?

Cultured Meat is attracting more and more interest from investors and consumers alike. Ever since Singapore became the first country to give regulatory approval for cultured chicken meat in December 2020, debate over the novel cellular agriculture technology has shifted from questions of feasibility to discussion of the industry’s commercial viability. Now, cultured meat pioneer Mosa Meat has responded to critics. Mosa Meat, the first company to present a prototype hamburger patty made from cultured beef eight years ago, on 10 November 2021 published a blog post in response to critical...

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smart city Copenhagen

Smart City Copenhagen: Europe’s Largest Living Lab

From urban design to smart city technologies, Copenhagen is a pioneer and a test bed for solutions that can improve sustainability and quality of life in a rapidly urbanizing world. Supertrends spoke to Anders Sloth, Head of Smart City Technologies and Solutions at Copenhagen Capacity, about why Denmark’s capital is attracting providers of smart city solutions, which technology fields are expected to have the biggest impact on city life, and why smart solutions need not necessarily be high-tech solutions. Interview: Chris Findlay Supertrends:    Anders Sloth, thank you for...

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Groundbreaking Recycling Method Could Expand Access to Rare Earths

SUPERTRENDS – One of the main levers for making electric vehicles more sustainable and commercially viable is the sourcing of rare chemical elements used in components. Nissan Motor and Waseda University have begun testing a newly developed method for recycling rare-earth elements (REEs) from the motor magnets of electric vehicles, which, if successful, could help stabilize prices for electric motors and ease the increasing demand for certain scarce metals that are indispensable for the successful transition to a more sustainable energy system.  The innovative recycling process,...

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Jim Mellon, author of Moo's Law

Jim Mellon Invokes ‘Moo’s Law’ for CellAg Meat

Jim Mellon is a British investor and entrepreneur. His latest book, Moo’s Law: An Investor’s Guide to the New Agrarian Revolution, is available via Harriman House and Amazon. The latest book by British tech investor Jim Mellon, Moo’s Law, explains why and how cultured meat technology will transform farming and revolutionize our food supply on a global level. In an interview with Supertrends, he discusses the growth and future prospects of cellular agriculture. The title of Jim Mellon’s new book on the cultured meat business – “Moo’s Law” ­– really says it all: He wrote his “investor’s...

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Blue Nalu head quarters

BlueNalu nets new funding for cell-based seafood products

Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu’s President + CEO, standing in front of their headquarters and pilot food production facility in San Diego; Photo Courtesy of BlueNalu With a new round of funding secured, the California-based company aims to make the first products available to US diners in the near future. BlueNalu, a US provider of cell-based seafood cultured in bioreactors, announced last week that it had recently secured US$60 million in financing. This comes in addition to the financing round of US$20 million announced in early 2020. “This will help us finance our work until the next...

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Robot Hand

Containing superintelligent AI is impossible, researchers find

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Ever since the release of Stan Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” more than 50 years ago, the sentient supercomputer HAL-9000 has embodied the fear of a superintelligence computer that emancipates itself from human oversight in order to complete its assignment. In this classic movie, HAL was depicted as turning increasingly neurotic. But today, powerful artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic concept, and the idea that a superintelligent computer might wrest control from humans to fulfill the tasks it has been set with the highest...

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This image shows part of a protein from (Cellulophaga baltica crAss-like) phage phi14:2, a virus that infects bacteria. This phage is part of a group of viruses that includes the most abundant virus in the human gut. The protein itself (gp66) is a newly-discovered DNA-dependent RNA polymerase.

AI network unlocks secrets of protein structures

An algorithm has provided the key to predicting the three-dimensional shapes of folded proteins, opening new pathways for science, including in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and the discovery of new drugs.  Molecular biologists announced a major breakthrough in the mapping of proteins in the human body on 30 November 2020, after an artificial intelligence (AI) network managed to deduce the three-dimensional structure of a protein from the sequence of its amino acids. The AlphaFold 2 “deep learning” program, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, demonstrated the...

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Germany sets new record in renewable energy generation

In Germany, one of the world’s economic and industrial powerhouses, renewable energy production increased appreciably in 2020, both in absolute terms and relative to the country’s overall power generation capacity. But as the “Energiewende” (energy transition) progresses, when will consumers see a significant decline in prices? And when will Germany become fully climate-neutral?  News reports at the end of October indicated that Germany was on track to generate significantly more solar energy than in the previous year. So far in 2020, solar energy...

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Senolytics showcase link between life extension and therapeutics

A significant part of ongoing anti-aging research has conventional applications in the treatment of gerontological conditions while also opening up potential avenues for life extension. Two entrepreneurs – Lewis Gruber of Siwa Therapeutics and Marc Ramis Castelltort of Senolytic Therapeutics and Rejuversen AG – discuss how their cutting-edge research serves two purposes – to improve health at old age, and to move one step closer to the dream of vastly expanded human longevity. Over the past three to four decades, scientists have refined their understanding of cellular aging processes and...

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