CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
Waste2Watergy, a Corvallis startup formed at Oregon State University, has secured a $225,000 federal grant to advance technology that cleans organics from brewery wastewater while producing electricity. The company says the technology could revolutionize wastewater treatment for the entire food and beverage industry.Developers have created a microbial fuel cell (MFC) system that generates energy from treating wastewater. Tiny microbes were designed to consume organic material; as an added bonus, the electrochemical energy created from microbial reactions in the fuel cell produce electricity.
Citi announced a commitment to lend, invest and facilitate a total of $100 billion within the next 10 years to finance activities that reduce the impacts of climate change and create environmental solutions that benefit people and communities. Citi's previous $50 billion goal was met three years early in 2013.
MARKETING AND COMMS -
GE Water & Process Technologies recently launched UsedtoUseful, a new platform that explores the impact of water reuse on industrial and municipal sectors. The site shares industry insight and discusses interesting concepts surrounding the impact of water reuse on industrial and municipal sectors.UsedtoUseful focuses on water reuse, tough-to-treat water, energy efficiency, and monitoring through interesting articles, original content, and water stories from around the globe in a non-commercial way.
WASTE NOT -
The most effective technologies for addressing growing global water and energy interdependence — known as the water-energy nexus — are based on reduce, recycle, and recovery and zero-water/zero-energy, according to new research from analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.The report, Technology Convergence Resolving Water-Energy Challenges, identifies six types of technology that contribute to solving the water-energy challenge: renewables-based desalination, wastewater treatment and recovery, hydraulic fracturing, thermal power, water efficiency and energy efficiency.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
Last week saw the launch of a new initiative that will offer 15 post-graduate scientists from nations across Africa the opportunity to work with UK academic institutions in subject areas such as water management, sustainable farming, energy and waste.The ‘SABMiller Royal Society Exchange Programme’ is a seemingly unlikely collaboration between one of the UK’s leading science establishments and a multinational brewer. I went along to Wednesday night’s launch event at the Royal Society in London to find out how beer is helping to fund new sustainable technologies.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
Lack of preparation has left supply chains in Brazil, China, India and the United States more vulnerable to climate risks than those in Europe and Japan. However, suppliers in China and India deliver the greatest financial return on investment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate the strongest appetite for collaboration across the value chain. This according to research released Tuesday by CDP and Accenture.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
Every day, women in developing countries spend a combined 200 million hours collecting clean water for their families. To raise awareness of this issue as part of the global water crisis and to help provide solutions, Belgian beer maker Stella Artois has launched its first global social impact campaign, “Buy a Lady a Drink.” With the support of Water.org and its co-founders Matt Damon and Gary White, “Buy a Lady a Drink” aims to help put a stop to these water-collecting journeys. The campaign formally launched on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival, of which Stella Artois is an annual sponsor.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
From historic climate change marches and bold advocacy by companies on the price of carbon to global economic volatility and heated debates on inequality, 2014 was a year of accelerated awareness and action for sustainable development.Our Ten Trends for 2015 distills SustainAbility’s thinking over the past year and forecasts the issues that will shape the sustainable development agenda in 2015.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
Chemical giant BASF has partnered with Save the Children to develop solutions related to improvement of water accessibility and quality in Mumbai, and livelihoods and food security in the Turkana region of Kenya.The two organizations plan to use a co-creation methodology known as “empathic design” for research and development. This technique combines in-depth problem observation with target group interaction to develop better solutions for pressing challenges in India and Kenya.
Royal HaskoningDHV has partnered with Dutch water supply company Vitens to help other drinking water companies around the world recover humic acid, an organic fertilizer.Humic acid is often discharged as a waste product during the drinking water blanching process. However, it can now be reclaimed sustainably in its pure form, providing an organic soil improver.
The Columbia Water Center, a center of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, has received a 3-year grant from Norges Bank to develop a modeling platform to quantitatively assess mining-related water and environmental risks and their financial implications.For the initial phase of the project, the Center’s research team will focus on water-related exposure for the mining of copper and gold.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently took a leap of faith when he personally put the latest technology for wastewater processing to the ultimate test — by drinking water produced from recycled human sewage.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
For businesses looking to make their businesses leaner and greener, taking a look at the drinking water they provide for their employees is one place to start. The average full-time employee drinks about 2.5 gallons of water per month at the office — and that does not include the water used to make coffee or other hot drinks. Clearly a business looking to be more sustainable is going to ditch bottled water because of the heaps of plastic involved. Tap water is the cheapest option, but the filtration systems often have their own costs and waste issues. Now a southern California startup, Skywell, is pitching atmospheric water-generator systems, which extract water out of the air with its advanced water generators.
AkzoNobel, The Nature Conservancy, Risk Management Solutions and Veolia have joined the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative (100RC) to provide critical tools to help cities around the world become more resilient to the shocks and stresses that are a growing part of the 21st century. The announcement was made this week at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.
H&M and WaterAid on Tuesday launched a new global partnership aimed at improving the health, education and future prospects of students by delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in schools throughout the developing world.The initiative will not only transform the lives of students by delivering immediate and long-term improvements to health and education, but also influence national and international policies around the right to safe water and sanitation, H&M says.To make this happen H&M, through its philanthropic arm the H&M Conscious Foundation, will donate $9.3 million.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to encourage hotels to use best management practices that will save water and money, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.
Interface announced this week it has reached a series of major sustainability milestones at its European manufacturing facility in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands. As of January 2014 the plant has been operating with 100 percent renewable energy, using virtually zero water in its manufacturing processes and has attained zero waste to landfill. This is a key achievement for the facility and a significant step forward for the company as it strives towards Mission Zero — Interface’s pledge to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by 2020 and by doing so, become a restorative enterprise.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, has pledged to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rums from certified, sustainable sources by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022 — an industry first — as part of a new global sustainability campaign.Marking the 152nd anniversary of the company’s founding, Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future builds on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sets new goals in three primary areas: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.
Sonoma County-based Bear Republic Brewing Company and Cambrian Innovation, a water and bioenergy technology provider, have unveiled an EcoVolt water treatment system at Bear Republic’s brewery in Cloverdale. The EcoVolt system uses a proprietary bioelectric technology to treat wastewater and generate biogas.Bear Republic, known for its Racer 5 IPA and commitment to environmental stewardship, is the first brewery to purchase the energy-positive EcoVolt system, which will cut its water treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use onsite, and significantly reduce the brewery’s CO2 footprint.
Kind Love, a state-licensed medical marijuana grower in Denver, Colorado, is improving the operational efficiency and environmental sustainability of its grow operations by installing a closed-circuit desalination (CCD) reverse osmosis (RO) system. The system, which will produce up to 22,000 gallons of purified water per day, is being supplied by Desalitech, a provider of high-efficiency water production and wastewater treatment solutions.