Omocom, a Swedish startup that provides on-demand microinsurance for sharing economy, in order to empower the transformation into circular economy. It is difficult for the traditional insurance industry to adapt insurance policies to the modern sharing society’s demands for flexibility. Omocom partnered with a Swedish peer-to-peer marketplace APP, where users can optionally insure belongings when getting help to move them from one place to another.
The premium ranges between €2 – €6 and covers damages up to €150 – €1000 with no deductible payments. Omocom’s vision is to get more people to find the satisfaction of sharing and thus contribute to a nicer and more sustainable world. Omocom is as much about insurance as it is about creating incentives and support for a circular economy.
Source: tech.eu, forbes.com
1.2 The Circular Economy of Data Centers
In order to cut down the waste and convert whatever waste is left to wealth for their material-intensive Data Centers, Google partners with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to employ circular economy principles. They procure products that are built in a way that can be made again even after they are scrapped. In short, refurbish, repair, reuse, and recycle.
In 2016 alone, Google used 22% of the components for machine upgrades and 36% for servers from the refurbished inventory of their own servers. In order to maximize recycling, Google uses a multi-step destruction process to ensure that the data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Google redistributes commercially useful excess component inventory by wiping clean the unused components and getting them checked multiple times before redistributing them for a resale on the secondary market. This strategy saves Google quite an amount of money.
1.3 Orange Juice for Combating Food Waste
Globally, it can be estimated that orange juice production generates between 0.8 and 1 million tons of by-products each year. It has been suggested that the peel and pomace of the fruit contain higher levels of dietary fiber, phenolic compounds, and antioxidant capacity compared to the fruit itself.
In an effort to leverage these nutrients for a functional purpose, the researchers produced a flour – known as orange by-product flour (OBPF) to make cookies.The study concluded that OBPF presented “interesting” characteristics. The development of fiber-enriched foods, such as cookies, is not only possible, but “well-accepted by tasters”.
Therefore, according to study authors, its production represents a key strategy for the orange juice processing industries towards the application of a circular economy in the food system.
02 NEW MATERIAL
2.1 CO2 for Cosmetic Product Raw Material
Personal care giant Beiersdorf and specialty chemicals supplier Evonik have teamed up to look for ways to use carbon dioxide as a source for producing sustainable raw materials for beauty products. “By using carbon dioxide as the starting material for the production of valuable raw materials, we can close the carbon cycle – exactly as demonstrated by nature with photosynthesis,” said Thomas Hass, lead on artificial photosynthesis at Evonik. The technology to develop the artificial photosynthesis model had already been funded under a separate BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) project ‘Rheticus’ with industrial manufacturing conglomerate Siemens.
According to Monique Large, futurologist and founder of trend consultation firm Pollen Consulting, in terms of the opportunities of carbon capture for the beauty category, whilst a significant way off and currently mere “fiction” for cosmetics largely due to cost, there could be room for a future where personal care and cosmetics companies incorporated captured carbon as a material into products.
2.2 Spidersilk: A Durable, Sustainable and Biodegradable New Material
Seevix Material Sciences Ltd. develops and manufactures synthetic SVX™ spidersilk. It possesses natural spidersilk’s extraordiary strength and elasticity and is durable, yet sustainable and biodegradable as it is bioprotein functional silk wich carries the sustainability characteristics of the natural fiber.
The patented SVX™ synthetic spidersilk, backed by over ten years of research at the Hebrew University, is manufactured by means of a single-step production process, enabling scalable, green, commercial manufacturing that reduces production time and costs.
2.3 Self-repairing Rubber Showing New Potentials of Industrial Waste
Recently, researchers have discovered a new kind of rubber and catalyst that together can be used with low energy consumption to make flexible, repairable, sustainable objects—including car tires. The new rubber material, made from cheap and plentiful industrial waste products sulfur, canola cooking oil and dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) from petroleum refining, can be completely repaired and returned to its original strength in minutes—even at room temperature—with an amine catalyst. It can be seamlessly repaired if damaged and can also be recycled.
Rubber bricks made out of this polymer can be chemically joined by applying the catalyst. In some cases, the amine catalyst causes the rubber to bond in just a few minutes, and it can be done at room temperature. This study reveals a new concept in the repair, adhesion and recycling of sustainable rubber.
2.4 Plant-based Materials for Home-good Designers
There are many examples of plant-based materials adopted by home-good designers demonstrated at Frankfurt’s Heimtextil 2020 trade fair.
Swiss company Qwstion’s Bananatex – a sturdy, waterproof yet biodegradable cloth woven from Philippine abaca banana-plant fiber. It is being used to make totes and bags. African company, Green-Nettle Textile in Kenya, harvests the nettles that grow on the country’s steep hillsides. Besides being transformable into a linen-like fabric, the drought-tolerant nettle crops help curb soil erosion in areas not suitable for agriculture.
In Mexico, a team of designers and NPOs have worked with a village of Mixtec farmers and herders to transform waste from corn plants into furniture. Hemp is another popular and environmental-friendly fiber in the textile market since it is durable and its production involves about half the amount of water as cotton’s.
Other attempts including temporary pavilion made of timber, mycelium fiber and cattails (Pascal Leboucq, Krown Design studio) and light fixtures made of mycelium or mushroom fiber (Sebastian Cox, Ninela Ivanova) also show the potential of new materials.
2.5 Automotive Industry Started to Use Sustainable Fibers
Making a new car generates almost as much carbon pollution as it does to drive it. There are new sustainable and biodegradable fibers available for car interiors as the alternative of non-recyclable synthetic fibers to help reduce the detrimental impact on the environment caused by the automotive industry.
The wood-based products are biodegradable, meaning that once a vehicle is scrapped, the textiles will not cause harm to the environment as conventional materials do, and they can be removed and used as compost.
03 CLEAN TECHNOLOGY
3.1 Honeywell UOP Hydrogen Tech for Clean Fuel Cells
Honeywell announced that Beijing HyPower Energy Technology Ltd., a leading hydrogen energy technology provider in China, will adopt.
Honeywell UOP technologies to supply high-purity hydrogen for fuel cells. Unlike fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel, hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water, electricity, and heat. With hydrogen energy growing in importance, and concerns about global warming, automobile manufacturers worldwide have invested in developing hydrogen fuel cells to power vehicles and generate electricity.
Honeywell UOP hydrogen purification solutions provide targeted hydrogen recovery and high product purity levels. Hydrogen can be produced on purpose or can be a valuable by-product.
3.2 Ammonia as a Green Shipping Fuel: The Viking Energy Project
Viking Energy Project is a five-year demo project aiming to build the first zero-emissions supply vessel. It uses ammonia-powered fuel cells. It sees ammonia as a key alternative fuel for future use in shipping vessels, which will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping industry as a whole. Tests are being conducted on dual-fuel and spark-ignition gasoline engines.
According to Kaj Portin, General Manager at Wärtsilä Marine, the first tests have shown promising results, and combustion parameters are continuously being optimized to improve performance.
3.3 Sustainable Aviation Fuels：CO2 Capture & Solar Thermochemical Conversion
Representatives of the Lufthansa Group and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich), with ETH spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion, have signed a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation to accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
The researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed and optimized the solar reactor technology for producing syngas by splitting H2O and CO2 and made it possible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. Together with water and with the help of concentrated sunlight, it can be converted into a synthesis gas that can be used to produce jet fuel. Such a fuel releases only as much CO2 as the amount previously extracted from the atmosphere.