Ahead of B Corp month, we look at ten of the best purpose-driven innovations providing solutions to global problems
For many, the drive to find unique solutions to the world’s problems comes from having a clear purpose and a desire to make the world a better place. To celebrate B Corp month, we’re highlighting purpose-driven organisations that are thinking in a whole new way about our most pressing global issues.
The UN reports that stopping deforestation and restoring damaged forests could provide up to 30 per cent of the climate solution. Australian startup AirSeed Technology is hoping to reverse deforestation by using AI and an army of seed-firing drones. Read more.
Water-filled containers teeming with microalgae are bringing the carbon-capturing benefits of photosynthesis to tree-less urban areas. Microalgae photosynthesise 10 to 50 times more efficiently than trees, and the installations can fill urban pockets where there is no space for tree-planting. Read more.
Salty or sweet – popcorn is a snack loved by many. It may be tasty, but it’s not exactly what you would think of for a building material. Yet this is exactly how scientists from Germany’s University of Göttingen have used it. The team made an exterior building insulation material using granulated popcorn. The new insulation is efficient, water repellant, and provides good protection from fire. Most importantly, it can act as a direct replacement for fossil-fuel-based materials. Read more.
Malaria is an all-too common and life-threatening disease. It is caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitos. There are an estimated 229 million cases of malaria each year, with around 410,000 annual deaths – more than half of which occur in children under five. The best way to avoid malaria is to not get bitten in the first place. Now, startup WeDrifters has come up with a novel solution – bamboo sleepwear with built-in anti-insect technology. Read more.
A major barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is the fear of running out of power before reaching a destination. Given that electric battery technology currently falls short of petrol-powered automobiles, an increasingly attractive solution is the idea of roads that could charge vehicles as they drive. Now, researchers are testing whether cement embedded with magnetised particles could provide an affordable road-charging system. Read more.
Scientists at England’s Plymouth Marine Laboratory have begun a one-year feasibility study into the ability of mussels to filter microplastics from natural waterways. Mussels are known for their resilience, and are capable of living in polluted water that other species would not be able to tolerate. And, as well as being naturally robust, mussels are incredibly efficient. In one day, a single square metre of mussels can filter a whopping 150,000 litres of water. Read more.
Engineers have created a tree-like solar still that can produce drinking water from unclean or salty sources. The design mimics the natural process of water moving up the roots and stems of mangrove plants. Read more.
Scientists in Poland have developed a new method for battling that country’s high levels of smog. They are testing a new device in the town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, where a heavy smog descends each winter as residents fire up their heating systems and chimneys belch out thick smoke. The device uses sound waves to blast particulates in the air up to a higher, less dangerous altitude. Read more.
San Francisco-based agtech company InnerPlant is working on a new project to modify plant DNA to create ‘living sensors’ that will ‘give plants a voice’ and mitigate crop losses. The method involves re-coding plant DNA so that crops can communicate through fluorescent proteins produced in their leaves. Read more.
Words: Matthew Hempstead
2nd March 2022