From moss walls to a platform for verified carbon offsets discover exciting innovations from Germany
Reflecting our global Springwise readership, we explore the innovation landscape and freshest thinking from a new country each week. This week we are heading to Germany…
Germany Innovation Facts
Global Innovation Index ranking: 8th
Climate targets: Cut emissions by at least 65 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, greenhouse gas neutral by 2045
Coal use – Germany remains reliant on coal for electricity generation, a situation exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Currently, the country is reliant on coal for one-third of its electricity. And Germany has pledged to stop burning coal by 2038, at least eight years later than 16 other European countries.
Air pollution – Air pollution in Germany often exceeds acceptable levels set by the World Health Organization – as it does in many other countries. But recently a group of seven German residents announced their intention to sue the government over air pollution. This came after the EU’s top court found that Germany persistently broke EU air quality rules.
Agricultural pollution – Groundwater in Germany contains persistently high levels of nitrate pollution from agriculture. And the government recently concluded a decade-long debate with the EU over the implementation of a Directive intended to designate ‘red areas’ of high nitrate pollution. Farmers in these areas would have to cut fertiliser use by 20 per cent.
Three Exciting Innovations From Germany
Moss is a highly efficient, natural air filter, attracting tiny dust particles to its fine, dense leaves. The plant biodegrades, stores, and eats airborne particles such as soot, ammonium salts, carbon dioxide, and pollen, all of which are harmful to human health. Moss also absorbs warm air, producing a local cooling effect as heat evaporates. Now, Greencity Solutions is using the plant to clean and cool the air in urban areas. Read more
The number of organisations committing to climate targets and offsetting has been growing rapidly. However, this growth also represents a major challenge, because the voluntary carbon market is still in its infancy, meaning there is a lack of credible emission reduction programmes and questionable investments in carbon projects with no actual reductions. Climate-tech startup Goodcarbon is working to change this by focusing on nature-based solutions (NbS), such as the conservation and restoration of forests or oceans. Read more
Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the oceans every year. And roughly 80 per cent of this plastic waste actually started out in rivers. Complicating cleanup was a finding in which researchers concluded that more than 1,000 rivers are responsible for most of the plastic that ends up in the ocean. The researchers also found that most of that waste is carried by small rivers that flow through densely populated urban areas, not the largest rivers. To tackle this plastic scourge, Germany-based enterprise Plastic Fischer has developed a floating barrier, called TrashBoom, designed to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean. Read more
Words: Matthew Hempstead
21st October 2022