Eco-innovation : more than a concept, a reality!

17 Apr Eco-innovation : more than a concept, a reality!

Environmental innovation (also called eco-innovation) is a specific form of innovation aimed at reducing the impact of products and production processes on the natural environment. Eco-innovation includes a large range of activities covering subjects like water supply, waste management and remediation activities, bio-economy, green energy and biotechnology. It typically takes the form of products, processes, organizations and institutions. 

We will present you 3 examples focused on reducing the use of fossil fuels and basic service access. These innovations can change lives in so many ways. 

The first example, created by American researchers in partnership with the NGO, Water is Life is the drinkable bookwhich filters non-potable water by eliminating 99,99 % of bacteria such as cholera or typhoid. It costs just 1 dollar and can filter enough water to satisfy the average consumption of one person for 30 days.

Saving water is both an economic and ecological issue for many households. Another innovation, the showerloop reduces water consumption during a shower by 90%.The dirty water is collected as soon as it leaves the shower cubicle, then filtered and purified, before returning to the shower head.

Other non-renewable natural resources like oil, which are being depleted over time, raise the question of alternative materials and energy sources. At the last International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a French company, Global Bioenergies presented a possible solution. The company ferments glucose or sucrose. Genetically modified bacteria will transform this sugar into isobutene. 15 million tons of this gas are produced each year from oil and can be transformed into lubricant, plastic and even fuel. With the dwindling of oil reserves, this option promises a more sustainable and less harmful energy source for the planet.

Energy is a matter of concern, especially considering that today 1 in 7 people in the world have no access to electricity. It has direct consequences on lifestyles, whether it is night-time activities, keeping food in a refrigerator, recharging a mobile phone or getting internet access. Innovations like The Wind Turbinelaunched in 2016 which starts to generate energy from 5km/h winds could benefit many people. Tested at up to 105 km/h of wind speed, the miniature wind turbine generates 6kw of electricity compared with 80 watts at 25 km/h. This is enough to make a difference.

In conclusion, these inventions show us that solutions on different scales are sought every day by individuals and companies who are trying to change the world through innovation. 

Léa Grillot & Camille Pellicioli

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