An eco-friendly building in Norway is sharing the power it generates with its neighbours  ©Ivar Kvaal
An eco-friendly building in Norway is sharing the power it generates with its neighbours ©Ivar Kvaal

From fish cannons to solar offices: a world of innovation

Where supply chains make a difference

Norway
Thanks to energy-reducing technologies and 3,000m2 of solar panels, an office building in Trondheim is producing twice the electricity it needs. It also uses rainwater for toilets and seawater for heating. Unused power from the 500,000 kWh of electricity produced by the panels is shared with neighbours.

UK
Liquifying waste garments is being used to create new sustainable items. Instead of chopping, waste fabrics are turned into a pulp before being extruded into yarn. It can then be mixed with new fibres and woven into cloth. The NuCycl method, created by textile firm Evrnu is being used to create hoodies for the Adidas Stella McCartney collection. 

Italy
At ‘Feel the peel’ juice bar, you can get orange juice in recyclable orange cups made from fruit rind. Italian design studio Carlo Ratti Associati’s creation takes unused fruit, which is heated and mixed with polylactic acid to create a bioplastic receptacle. 

Japan
Commuting in summer is about to get a lot less sweaty with an in-shirt air conditioner. The Reon Pocket device, created by Sony, slots into the back of a specially designed T-shirt and is capable of cooling the wearer through a thermodynamic process called the Peltier Effect. 

New Zealand
Wool from New Zealand’s sheep is being used to create 3D biodegradable acoustic panels. Developed by New Zealand Merino Company and T&R Interior Systems, the panels block out background noise, as well as providing more energy efficient insulation. 

Singapore
Robots are addressing labour shortages, while adding humour to household chores. Developed by LionsBot, the robots vacuum and scrub floors and assist cleaning teams, while sharing jokes. They currently clean at Singapore’s National Gallery.

UAE
Autonomous wheelchairs are being trialled in Abu Dhabi airport to make air travel easier for passengers with restricted mobility. The personal electric vehicle will feature automatic brakes, voice-activated features and sensors to detect any potential obstacles.  

US
A ‘fish cannon’ that helps fish get over dams and continue their migratory route uses AI to sort the native from invasive species. A mist allows the fish to breathe and an air blower pushes them to spawning grounds. Whooshh, the company responsible, says the process is less stressful than being handled or jumping a fish ladder.

Crunching the numbers

32%
The annual growth in AI spend in Europe until 2023, when the figure will reach a total spend of $21bn. Industries with the highest AI spend include banking and retail, accounting for 39% of total spending.

0.6%
The percentage of industrial robotics shipments represented by the UK in 2017. The Business Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee says government step up efforts.

1bn
The tonnes of food wasted each year globally. The World Resources Institute called on governments and firms to identify where food is being wasted with a goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.

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