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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Lightning-In-A-Bottle: New Fusion Tech Gets US$160M Funding

Lightning-In-A-Bottle: New Fusion Tech Gets US$160M Funding

Nuclear fusion start-up Zap Energy has completed a successful test on a prototype of its Z-pinch fusion technology. The company also raised US$160 million in Series C funding to further commercialize its technology. Nuclear fusion, the energy process that powers the Sun, has the potential to provide unlimited sustainable and safe energy. Researchers have been developing fusion projects by generating high pressure and temperatures or using lasers. US-based Zap Energy is taking a different approach that has been called “lightning-in-a-bottle”. Z-pinch technology is a type of...

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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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sustainability materials

The Road to Sustainability is Paved With Good Inventions

Saving the planet and the environment is a serious challenge, and scientists all over the world are working hard to find ways to tackle the various issues of pollution, over-consumption, and preserving natural resources from all angles. Materials science contributes new discoveries on a daily basis, and sometimes, sustainability in materials science is approached from an unusual direction. Wood-based foam could help offset air-conditioning costs Using air-conditioning devices to keep buildings cool is expensive, wasteful, and overall bad for the environment. Researchers at the American...

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Two New Types of Crops Benefit Farmers and the Environment

Climate change is reducing crop yields and threatening global food security. At the same time, farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and the climate problem. Innovations in biotechnology could help to address this dilemma by developing more productive and resilient crops that have a lower environmental impact. Gene-editing for higher resistance For the first time in history, man-made climate change is occurring at a faster pace than plants can adapt to, causing a reduction in both yields and seed protein content. Many scientists are betting on the technology of gene...

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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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Sustainable Investing. Going Beyond Environmental Targets and ESG Ratings

In the societies and business worlds of today, “green” or ethical investment has become a key benchmark. However, the lack of standardization and knowledge as well as a plethora of regulations in this area make it difficult for investors to assess the sustainability of an organization. In an interview with Supertrends, Kristina Touzenis shares some insights regarding the current situation and the challenges that sustainable investment poses. Sustainable investing, also referred to as socially responsible or ESG investing, has become a hot topic due to the growing awareness and global prioritization...

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sustainable digital fashion

The Avatar’s New Clothes: Digital Design for Greener Fashion

When we think about fashion, we tend to think of material objects such as colorful textiles, cutting tables, scissors, sewing needles, or pins. However, the future of this industry will be shaped just as much by high-resolution screens, blockchain, 3D modeling, virtual and augmented reality, holograms, and artificial intelligence. While it is a natural concept for those now in their 20s, digital fashion might require a certain mindset shift for those who grew up in an analog world. However, in a future where our main priority will be to preserve our natural resources, virtual fashion is certain...

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Algorithms for Fashion. How Machine Learning Makes the Apparel Industry More Sustainable

In the fashion industry, return rates – sometimes referred to as “the plague of eCommerce” – are skyrocketing. Besides placing a burden on the companies’ budgets and logistics, this behavior is also detrimental to the environment. However, innovative software programs based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have the potential to reduce return rates, leading to a more sustainable industry. The fashion industry is frequently accused of unsustainable practices, with its high carbon emissions, consumerism, high water consumption, toxic effluents and materials, child labor, and...

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Aquaporins

Aquaporins: Purifying Water with Nature’s Own Filter

While many human activities affect the environment in negative ways, nature’s solutions often are more efficient and sustainable. How do plants and animals purify water? What can we learn from them about filtration? With these questions in mind, Supertrends talked to two executives from Aquaporin, a water tech company delivering innovative technology based on nature’s own water filter.    Aquaporins: the truly natural water filters The cells in Aquaporins are channel proteins that facilitate the transport of water across cells. Through aquaporins, cells in plants, animals, and...

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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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The World’s First 3D-Printed Metal Bridge Opens in Amsterdam

The world’s first 3D-printed metal bridge opened to the public on 15 July 2021. The futuristic design of the smart bridge adds a modernist flair to one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. (Head image credit: Adriaan de Groot) The challenge of a 3D-printed metal bridge A 3D-printed metal bridge being installed in central Amsterdam (Image credit: Merlin Moritz) Metal 3D printing has gained massive interest in recent years. It enables manufacturers to advance more quickly from the design to the final product and facilitates a more flexible and complex design approach....

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A Stepping Stone Towards a Sustainable Company: Gathering the Right Data

As a Senior Management Consultant at IBM, Anja Juhl Jensen has been working with digital innovation and disruptive technologies for more than 16 years. Currently, she supports IBM customers in the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to set a sustainable course for their organization. In an interview with Supertrends, she calls attention to an essential step in achieving a sustainable organization: proper data collection and analysis. Anja Juhl Jensen has extensive experience working with disruptive technologies that drive sustainability. Other areas of expertise...

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