Pearls are an excellent example of a luxury product which originally could only be afforded by the very wealthiest. Later on, the over-exploitation and cultivation of pearl oysters endangered the oceans and their fauna. Finally the pearls could be produced at industrial scale for the masses.
A new luxury item could be gems made of silicon carbide. This material can be used in industry as well as in jewelry. Up to now, the raw material was obtained by expensive and energy intensive mining. However the easier and cheaper method is the production of SiC from rice husks, an agricultural by-product considered as waste and available in huge amounts.
Similar to the case of pearls, the business strategy is meant to be the production of small amounts of highly priced jewelry within a small area. This jewelry industry is now being combined with broader programmes to economically support rice farmers in Bhutan and will be presented next year to the public worldwide.
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After disasters like those which took place in Japan this year, the local supply of electricity is often in disarray. In such cases, normally people would use generators based on diesel, gas or kerosene in order to mitigate the emergency at least in some points and provide back-up electricity.
Morten Sondergaard had the idea to use large generator ships in order to produce back-up electricity. Normally these ships are located at the oil platforms to produce electricity for operations at high sea. These boats are available in every region of the world. They can be equipped with up to eight generators and sent to the places where they are needed. If the grid at the site is intact, the electricity (close to 200 MW/hour) can be fed in directly.
Sondergaard still goes one step beyond emergency aid and adds the component of sustainability. The generators on board work with biofuel which is neutral in carbon emissions. This is an example how Blue Economy can provide sustainable solutions with available resources even in exceptional situations.
For more information on the Blue Economy please visit www.blueeconomy.de
Point-of-care diagnostics includes a series of innovations which render informations about the state of health and eventual infections within a short time and close to the patient. The example of patients with diabetes illustrates how instant measuring can improve the quality of life.
At the Paracelsus Center in Lustmühle (Switzerland), Dr. Thomas Rau has a special method of finding the causes of the patients' sufferings. Among other diagnostic, he uses dark field microscopy, a merely physical method of POC diagnostics, to visualize microorganisms without using chemicals to color the sample. After treating the illness, he and his team proceed to give holistic instruction which the patient may comprehend to change his eating and sleeping habits and thus maintain his/her health.
As our healthcare systems needs to save money, the instruction of the population about how their body works, in combination with measures aiming to treat the causes instead of the symptoms of any disease, is the most sustainable and even the cheapest method of keeping us healthy.
For more information, please visit www.blueeconomy.de
Everybody knows Polyurethane foams (PU foams) from daily use: household sponges, insulation for buildings, toys and packaging for electronics are made of this material. About 3000 chemical additives make it more lasting, elastic, or flexible for any use in particular. Unfortunately, a large part of these additives has never been tested on long term consequences for human beings or nature.
While searching for a viable and natural substitute for these chemicals, two American mycologists had little to do but take a "closer" look. Mycelium, the mushrooms' root system, proved to be as functional, versatile and sturdy as artificial PU foam after submitting it to a simple cooking and drying process.
Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer founded Ecovative LLC in New York State and signed contracts with a furniture maker and an electronics company to provide molded foam for their packagings. They also developed insulating panels for home and commercial construction. The advantage: this mycelium foam is 100% free from chemical additives and biodegradable. When buried, it degrades in just four weeks.
For more information please visit www.blueeconomy.de
What happens to billions of drink packages, plastic bottles cookie wraps and similar consumer goods in the world? Despite all campaigns to reduce, reuse and recycle, the amount of municipal solid waste continues to rise. At the moment, the only option to control the growth of garbage mountains in a way that creates revenues seems to be burning for generation of energy.
However it is a pity to see that objects which have caused so much effort in design, materials and assembling, have such a short lifetime. Tom Szaky must have thought in a similar way when he started to collect garbage at American schools in order to produce new things out of them. Packages for cookies or fruit juice now become bags, purses or fashion goods. The peculiarity is that this kind of upcycling affects not only the materials, but also the original brand of the item: the proucer of the chips bags or sweets wraps. While before the companies have rather aimed to hide their name on the waste, now they do not bother that the upcycled products are sold next to the originals at the supermarket.
Tom's company TerraCycle pays a fixed amount for every piece of waste collected to the schools or non-profit organization which provide the raw material for his business. By this payment he finances non-profit projects and makes people aware of the true value of waste.
For more information, please visit www.blueeconomoy.de
Biogas is future-oriented because it is neutral in CO2 Emisions and, unlike natural gas, a renewable energy source. It can be obtained from sludge at the municipal water treatment plants, but the quantity to be harvested within the plants is not enough for a profitable industrial production.
Erik Danielsson, founder of Scandinavian Biogas, came to the same conclusion. This is why he started to combine sludge from the water treatment plant with other waste from agriculture and the food industry which otherwise are disposed of separately causing high expenses. He obtained a perfect mix for the production of high quality biogas.
His first plant in Ulsan, South Korea, is a converted common water treatment plant of smaller size. Before, this plant depended on tax revenues for operation. Now it generates its own revenue with several cash flows: gate fees for food waste, sales revenue from refined biogas for vehicles and also for liquid CO2, and from selling heat. This is an example for intelligent clustering of industries, a characteristic for the Blue Economy.
Interested? Detailed information on the business model and its potential is available at www.community.blueeconomy.de
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