2018 Science for Good Pioneers
In Europe, 50% of energy is used for heat production: what if we could instead recycle thermal energy we actually produce ourselves?
In 2013, Jaouad Zemmouri, physicist and Professor at the University of Lille, in the north of France, and Audrey Keunebrock, head of the R&D consulting firm Starklab, combined their scientific and business skills to design and distribute a new generation of heat exchangers called TERRAO.
Its first application for air treatment, called Terraotherm, allows to recycle thermal energy, thus decreasing the production of energy, be it from fossil or renewable sources. The second application for the treatment of industrial fumes, Terraosave, also recycles and saves energy by capturing and restoring the energy of fumes, but also to reduce the emissions of water vapor and CO2 into the atmosphere and clean up pollution (gaseous pollutants and dust fumes are washed by passing through the water circulating in the TERRAO exchanger and treated in conventional water treatment circuits).
Did you know that 90% of what we eat is possible thanks to insect pollination work? Yet, they are today disappearing at alarming rates in relation to the negative impacts of human activities.
Bach Kim Nguyen, scientist and expert on the demise of bees, co-founded with Michaël van Cutsem the social enterprise BeeOdiversity to act for a change! Their innovation? The BeeOmonitoring, in partnership with bees! By bringing nectar back to the hive, bees collect a large amount of data such as levels of pesticides and heavy metals in their environment, allowing to identify pollution sources that affect biodiversity, and therefore the quality of our food and health. Once these sources of pollution have been identified, the BeeOdiversity team advises all relevant stakeholders located in the area to implement actions to limit pollution, which indirectly contributes to preserve bees.
What if we could recycle carbon on a large scale to mitigate CO2 emissions, thereby limiting pollution and global warming while preserving natural resources?
After more than 10 years of R&D, the NZ-American company LanzaTech has recently proved it! Founded by two scientists, the company has developed a new process based on the principle of fermentation to recover and re-use the carbon found in industrial fumes. Specific bacteria are used to convert naturally carbon, carbon dioxide and hydrogen present in gaseous waste into ethanol, allowing to produce a competitive new generation of sustainable biofuels. Carbon recycling is no more a dream, it is reality!
Mini Green Power
Could we turn all our green waste into new products to implement a new circular economy?
While the methanization process only converts a part of the biomass, the pyrogasification process developed by two French engineers Jean Riondel and Hubert Sabourin transforms all forms of plant residues (such as tree barks and branches) in heat or electricity without releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
Their company Mini Green Power, located in the South of France, designs and manufactures mini-power plants integrating this breakthrough technology. Being modular, compact and automated, they can be installed even in the most remote areas. Their implementation also promotes the emergence of short circuits, particularly in local communities, where a great amount of green waste is generated which can be valued to provide energy to municipal facilities.
Alg & You
Microalgae, our future food?
One of them, spirulina, is today consumed as a dietary supplement, being recognized for its high nutritional content: rich in iron, vitamins, antioxidants and vegetable proteins (65% on dry weight).
To make accessible the benefits of spirulina to all and provide an alternative to animal proteins, the Alg & You team has created and designed an indoor spirulina cultivator with the ambition to make spirulina a new culinary ingredient. By developing a local production system (the device can be used in a kitchen on the same principle as a yogurt maker), the social enterprise also wishes to strengthen food autonomy and security. This production system is in addition water efficient, does not require land or pesticides and produces zero waste!