As our company grows this year, we hope other sustainable ideas and inventions make 2013 their year to shine as well. We realize that news concerning the environment can bedepressing, so we want to shed light on amazing technologies and companies that have the capability to completely revolutionize the world.
1. CO2 Absorbing Streetlamp: French biochemist Pierre Calleja has invented a streetlight powered by algae that draws CO2 from the air. The micro-algae feed on the CO2 in the air, much like they do in the ocean. The lamp can absorb and filter one ton of CO2 each year. A single tree only absorbs 48 lbs per year and sequesters one ton of CO2 over its entire lifetime. The impact of a single micro-algae streetlamp is remarkable, let alone if these were placed across cities and neighborhoods around the world.
2. Mushroom Packaging: Ecovative is a company that passionately aims to use nature to replace unsustainable plastics, foam, and other harmful materials. Founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre realized that mushroom roots (mycelium) act like a glue and could be bonded together with agricultural crop waste to form customizable packaging. Their packaging is organic, completely compostable and even cost competitive. In addition, it takes away the need for Styrofoam, which is one of the worst synthetic materials for the environment. Ecovative is launching a consumer products line soon and we can’t wait to see what they have come up with!
3. Bioneedles: Each year, people with diabetes in the U.S. alone use more than one billion syringes. Now add all of the syringes used in hospitals worldwide and think about the huge waste management problem. A Netherlands company has found a way to give vaccinations and medicine without the biohazardous waste. Bioneedles are “tiny, biodegradable, mini implants” that dissolve in the body within minutes. Not only is the material biodegradable and able to hold the vaccine, it is strong enough to withstand injection. You don’t even need a doctor to administer the medication. The bioneedle is still in early stages of development but is a significant milestone for a more sustainable healthcare industry.
4. YoGen Charger: One of the biggest trends we have noticed this year is powering your gadgets off the grid. Most chargers use solar power and take almost half a day to charge. However, the YoGen Charger uses human-induced energy and charges in the same amount of time as a wall outlet. To start the charge, tug on a string for a few minutes!
5. “On Demand Generation of Electricity from Stored Wind Energy“: Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world so it should be no surprise that they have invested in renewable energy. They have filed a patent for a wind turbine that stores heat and then releases it on demand to generate electricity. The design converts rotational energy into a low heat capacity fluid and can be transferred into different fluid use in electricity. The major advantage of this turbine is that it solves the problem of wind speeds not being constant throughout the day, therefore evening out the supply and demand in wind energy.