All-electric water taxis are being tested on the River Seine ©SeaBubbles
All-electric water taxis are being tested on the River Seine ©SeaBubbles

From cheese waste to water taxis: a world of innovation

Where supply chains matter

Cheese waste will be used to create biogas to power UK homes. The Wensleydale Creamery has agreed to supply waste which includes whey, the liquid that is left over after the milk has been curdled and strained, to the Leeming Biogas plant, which will use it to create feedstock for anaeroic bacteria that produces biogas renewable energy. 

Why design a drone like an owl? To bypass enemy counter-drone technology is the thinking behind this one unveiled by the Russian Air Force, which is also working on a ‘Falcon’ drone – with sound effects. 

To demonstrate the potential of ‘biology-engineered materials’, a team of scientists and designers in Finland have grown and 3D-printed a pair of concept headphones. Ingredients such as yeast and fungi were used in the process.

The problem of soggy straws, an issue in the post-plastic era, is being addressed by Nippon Paper Group, which is working on straws that can hold liquids without getting wet. It is also developing containers that could replace packaging for household detergents and soaps.

An energy-efficient building that adapts to weather conditions has been developed at Tsinghua University School of Architecture. Three of its 16 concrete panels open in response to temperature changes. The first one is in Wujiazhuang, an area that will play host to the 2022 Olympics. 

To support smart city infrastructure, solar-powered connected benches have been created. Developed by Include, they offer wireless charging, wi-fi and street lighting, as well as LCD displays for advertising and information. Some include CCTV for added security. 

Chickenless eggs have been developed by a US start-up, Clara Foods. Yeast and sugar create a plant-based protein that mimics the DNA in eggs, which can be used in baked goods. Maybe this could finally put an end to the age-old question…

All-electric water taxis are being tested on the Seine river. The hydrofoil yacht, designed by start-up Seabubbles, is powered by an electric battery that can last around an hour between charges, creating zero emissions and zero noise. The taxis carry up to five people, have a top speed of 25km/h, and claim to make no waves.

Crunching the numbers

Amount of palm oil supplied to Europe that is traceable to the plantation, while 98% is traceable to the mill. The Palm Oil Transparency Coalition believes European retailers won’t meet their 2020 deforestation goals.

Amount spent by the UK government on Brexit consultancy, according to The National Audit Office. This is £32m higher than the Cabinet Office had disclosed. 

When Burberry plans to cut 95% of carbon emissions from its direct operations. The luxury fashion brand said it also wants to cut emissions from its extended supply chain including manufacturing by 30% by 2030.

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