Let us welcome DroneSeed–a new solution to precision reforestation!

DroneSeed is working with commercial foresters to make reforestation more efficient. Their team offers a one-stop solution of drones capable of planting tree seeds and spraying fertilizer and herbicides to keep trees healthy.

Millions of acres of forestland are currently under-utilized. The availability of dependable workers, and the safety concerns of rough terrain, prevent trees from being planted and cared for. DroneSeed is presented as a scalable solution to addressing this problem. Could this be the future of a faster, safer, and more efficient forestry?

Check out their website for  videos and more info: https://www.droneseed.co/

CEF FFT: Using drones is perhaps more efficient, but this isn’t to disregard the freedom we have to plant seeds and plant trees. If we all planted even a single seed and tree each week, what sort of transformation would we expect to see?

Open Litter Map

Open Litter Map is a web-based litter-mapping game to generate Open Data for a healthier planet. By switching your phone’s camera to allow for “Location Tags,” when you take a photo of litter, the approximate location will be geotagged into the image. Once you upload the image to Open Litter Map’s website, it will need to be verified. After verification is complete it will appear on their global map data as in this screen grab!

Check out their website for more info on how to start uploading your own geotagged photos of trash needing cleanup!

CEF FFT: What would be a next step for the application for mapping litter data? Well, first thing that comes to mind is trash not easily accessible for someone to remove without proper gear, for example in a public park with a large pond where fish, turtles, ducks and other creatures live.

Zero-Emission Fossil Fuel Power

(photo credit: CHICAGO BRIDGE & IRON)

This is NET Power’s prototype plant near Houston, Texas. It is testing an emission-free technology designed to compete with conventional fossil power.

Zero-emission fossil fuel power sounds like an oxymoron. But when that 25-megawatt demonstration plant is fired up later this year, it will burn natural gas in pure oxygen. The result: a stream of nearly pure CO2, which can be piped away and stored underground or blasted into depleted oil reservoirs to free more oil, a process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Either way, the CO2 will be sequestered from the atmosphere and the climate.

That has long been the hope for carbon capture and storage (CCS), a strategy that climate experts say will be necessary if the world is to make any headway in limiting climate change. But CCS systems bolted to conventional fossil fuel plants have struggled to take off because CO2 makes up only a small fraction of their exhaust. Capturing it saps up to 30% of a power plant’s energy and drives up the cost of electricity.

In contrast, NET Power, the startup backing the new plant, says it expects to produce emission-free power at about $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. That’s about the same cost as power from a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired plant—and cheaper than most renewable energy. The key to its efficiency is a new thermodynamic cycle that swaps CO2 for the steam that drives turbines in conventional plants. Invented by an unlikely trio—a retired British engineer and a pair of technology geeks who had tired of their day jobs—the scheme may soon get a bigger test. If the prototype lives up to hopes, NET Power says, it will forge ahead with a full-scale, 300-megawatt power plant—enough to power more than 200,000 homes—which could open in 2021 at a cost of about $300 million. Both the company and CCS experts hope that the technology will then proliferate. “This is a game-changer if they achieve 100% of their goals,” says John Thompson, a carbon capture expert at the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental nonprofit with an office in Carbondale, Illinois.

Even if NET Power’s technology works as advertised, not everyone will be a fan. Lukas Ross, who directs the climate and energy campaign at Friends of the Earth in Washington, D.C., notes that the natural gas that powers the plant comes from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and other potentially destructive practices. And providing a steady supply of high-pressure gas for EOR, he adds, will only perpetuate a reliance on fossil fuels. Ross argues that money would be better spent on encouraging broad deployment of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

Yet oddly enough, NET Power could help smooth the way for renewables to expand. The renewable portfolio standards in many countries and U.S. states require solar, wind, and other carbon-free sources to produce an increasing proportion of the electric power supply. But those sources are intermittent: The power comes only when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Nuclear and fossil fuel sources provide “base load” power that fills the gaps when renewables aren’t available. Conventional natural gas power plants, in particular, are viewed as a renewable-friendly technology because they can be ramped up and down quickly depending on the supply of renewable power.

CEF FFT: Although this is not an ideal solution, perhaps this is a step in the right direction. Who knows what this new Allam Cycle could inspire in other renewables.

Visit source article on Sciencemag.org for more information and diagrams!

The Next Phase

Today at 8:00pm CET (11:00am PST) Boyan Slat just announced the next phase of development for his organization “The Ocean Cleanup”.

“Why go after the plastic, if the plastic can come to you?” was Slat’s original rhetorical motto that summed up their initial netting system to clean the gyres of plastic waste.

For the next phase, he shared a new motto: “To catch the plastic, act like the plastic.”

Unlike the original design which involved a larger netting system that required them to anchor the nets to the ocean bed some 4 kilometers down with mixed subterranean stability (this proved to be the most challenging step as well), their new design involves more modular fleet of nets which are anchored in mid-ocean drift. They were able to test the force and flow of water at different depths and found that the netting system only needed to be drastically slowed from drift, not completely halted.  For this reason, weights that would slow the netting down to a rate that plastic still could be collected would be optimal for both the efficiency of implementation as well as the gradual development of a fleet of nets based on a budgetary standpoint.

Oddly enough, this drift technology seems to work even more in our favor than we expected. Slat stated that we need to act like plastic. By this he means that the technology to clean the plastic should be akin to the behavior of the plastic itself in the ocean.  He also explains how after the fleet of nets is set up, the netting system should be able to not only gather the plastic but also over time the drifting nets themselves will be gradually gathered together by the current.

For more information visit their website The Ocean Cleanup!


The Ocean Clean Up Next Phase

The next phase for Boyan Slat (CEO and Founder) and his team at The Ocean Cleanup is getting near.

On Thursday May 11th, The Ocean Cleanup will be sharing a very special announcement with the world. Discover what they’ve been working on for the past two years, and what will be happening next. The unveiling event will take place at the spectacular “Werkspoorkathedraal” in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and will be streamed LIVE on their webpage at 8.00pm CET / 2.00pm EST.

Check out source The Ocean Clean Up for more info and an unveiling teaser video of what’s to come!

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE


The last time the ocean was as acidic as it is now was 50 million years ago and the change occurred over millennia, not over decades.  We now know that the oceans cannot take infinite abuse.

The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a 2 year competition worth $2 million dollars for team to create radical breakthroughs in measurement technology, namely ocean acidification (pH levels). The point of the competition is to accurately measure acidification for the first time. This alerts people to the fact that we’ve got a problem that is so important that someone is willing to put up private resources as a reward. One of the goals of this prize is to bring more instruments to the problem. There has been an ongoing dearth of data on the state of the health of the oceans. This is an opportunity to start fresh with new tools to share with the public what is really going on.

Measuring the pH in the oceans efficiently and effectively is no easy task. It isn’t only a challenge of accurate measurement but also the depth with which the sensors are able to sink and still perform.

Check out the source link at xprize.org for a video and to find out which team won the prize!

The ocean is critical for the planet and all living species. If competitions like this bring passionate endeavoring people together to make leaps, then what an amazing thing it would be for more such innovation-driven events to emerge.

Ooho Water

Ooho is a drinking water product created by a startup known as Skipping Rocks Lab. The product is reported to hype up the internet due to making “eating water” possible and getting rid of plastic bottles at the same time.

According to Extreme Tech eating water was made possible by the startup due to the product’s packaging. Ooho was seen as a spherical blob which has water encased in it making it a squishy bottle. Yet, the huge surprise is that you could actually eat the whole blob of water with no plastic bottle needed.

Ooho was mentioned to be created through seaweeds used as its membrane. The edible bottle’s membrane was composed through spherification which includes sodium alginate from seaweed and calcium chloride. Each ball was then mentioned to only take 2 cents in order to produce it thus saving money as well.

Moreover, amid Ooho being edible, people are still given the choice whether to eat the membrane or not since it was identified to be tasteless and has an unusual surface when eaten. Yet, people could still throw it away and not eat it because as it was mentioned to be biodegradable it will just break down as a compost on land or ground over a week or so.

Furthermore, the Ooho product aims to be “the global solution to water and drinks on-the-go.” The startup mentioned that they also aim to replace and get rid of plastic bottles as they pose a great environmental issue to the world.

Visit source link for more info and a video!

A Sponge for Oil Spills

A group of researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have developed a sponge that will collect oil from bodies of water, which could improve how harbors and ports are cleaned, as well as how oil spills are managed.

“The Oleo Sponge offers a set of possibilities that, as far as we know, are unprecedented,” said co-inventor Seth Darling, a scientist with Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and a fellow of the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering.

At tests at a giant seawater tank in New Jersey called Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility, the Oleo Sponge successfully collected diesel and crude oil from both below and on the water surface.

“The material is extremely sturdy. We’ve run dozens to hundreds of tests, wringing it out each time, and we have yet to see it break down at all,” according to Darling.

The team is actively looking to commercialize the material; those interested in licensing the technology or collaborating with the laboratory on further development may contact partners@anl.gov.

For more info and a video demonstration visit Argonne’s website here!

Reintroducing ByFusion

Consider the empowering solutions to pollution, waste management and local community development made possible by the ByFusion machine. Their goal is to put all plastic waste to work cost effectively, maximizing efforts of people cleaning by creating building blocks called RePlast. Here is an overview:

PLASTIC-AGNOSTIC: We do not discriminate against any type of plastic. We take it all.

 STREAMLINED PROCESSING: No sorting or pre-washing required. Just shovel in the plastic and the transformation process begins.

100% MODULAR: Self-contained and fully transportable. Runs on gas or electric to meet varying conditions.

ECO-FRIENDLY DESIGN: Nearly 100% carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process.

CUSTOMIZABLE BYPRODUCT: Able to control density and shape of the product, called RePlast. Currently configured to manufacture common cinder block sized material.

FIT FOR PURPOSE: RePlast was developed to be used in a wide variety of applications from walling to roadway barriers. In most cases, we are able to customize RePlast to meet the needs of the job.
Check out their website http://www.byfusion.com for more info!

Foldable Solar Panels

We can now fold up solar panels that are nearly unbreakable and take them with us anywhere.

Instead of one solid sheet, these highly portable panels are made from a pliable network of glitter-sized solar cells.

A typical solar panel—more than five feet long and encased in glass—isn’t exactly portable. But a new type of solar technology, miniaturized so that each cell is the size of a piece of glitter, could be used anywhere.

The tiny cells are made from high-efficiency silicon, like standard solar panels. But the new form means that they’re not only small but flexible, and can be folded up for transportation, incorporated into clothing, or easily used in electronics.

Conventional solar panels “are brittle because they’re crystalline,” Murat Okandan, CEO of mPower Technology, the startup making the new technology, tells Co.Exist. “If you bend or flex them, at some point they’ll just break and shatter. By making our cells small and then interconnecting them we’re able to make them almost unbreakable.”

Visit the source link for more details!