The Iglesia-Estancia Guanizuil solar park in Argentina ©Gobierno de San Juan
The Iglesia-Estancia Guanizuil solar park in Argentina ©Gobierno de San Juan

From solar farms to flying taxis: a world of innovation

Where supply chains make a difference

The world’s first subsea power grid is being developed by Siemens with partners Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil and Eni Norge. The station will redistribute electricity to underwater equipment for oil and gas operators and is expected to be more energy efficient. It has been tested in shallow waters and will now go into the next testing phase.

What happens when 1,000-year-old techniques meet 21st century tech? Swedish distillery Mackmyra, Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft plan to develop the world’s first AI-developed whisky. The AI can create recipes using datasets of blends, sales and customer preferences. Who needs people?

With the prospect of flying taxis taking off, engineering firm Bosch will develop and sell universal control units. The first test flights for Uber air taxis are set for 2020 with commercial flights by 2023. Bosch says mass-produced sensors will be a cost benefit.  

Agent Unicorn is a brain-computer interface headpiece that collects data from children with ADHD to find out which environmental cues trigger the P300 brain signal used in decision-making and attention. The headpiece uses a camera, electrodes, EEG board and Bluetooth.

A cotton factory is using cotton seeds as waste recycling to produce biodiesel to fuel irrigation pumps, and help farmers in Kenya who have endured three seasons of poor rainfall. The factory has supplied 105 biodiesel-fuelled water pumps to farmers. 

Robotic arms and machine learning software from Seedo are set to monitor and optimise growth at a medical cannabis farm on Kibbutz Dan in shipping containers. The automated growing system is set to produce an estimated 360lbs per year per container.  

An innovative joint finance structure from the World Bank and IFC is behind the 80MW Iglesia-Estancia Guanizuil solar park from Chinese firm Jinko Solar and the Argentinian government which is set to power over 60,000 homes and help meet renewable energy targets. 

Made-to-order jeans created using a 3D body-scanning service and 3D weaving could cut waste and reduce global carbon emissions. That’s the aim of San Francisco-based start-up Unspun, which uses robotics and automated, localised manufacturing, and aims to cut global carbon emissions by at least 1%. Investors include the H&M Foundation and US National Science Foundation. 

Crunching the numbers

The UK government’s planned year to achieve zero emissions for all new cars and vans, with the UK Industrial Strategy and Road to Zero Strategy prioritising the manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles.

The percentage of global internet users who live in the Asia Pacific region, which is estimated to increase to 53% by 2030, adding 1.6bn users to the digital community. 

The estimated number of plastic straws used in England each year, according to government research. Single use plastics will be banned in England from April 2020, including plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds. 

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